Wednesday 23 March 2016
National School Gardener of the Year Winner to develop new school garden area with TV’s Francis Tophill
A Broughton High School pupil will welcome a very special guest to her school on Monday 22 March, as TV gardener and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) School Gardener of the Year judge Frances Tophill drops in to offer gardening advice.
Local student Heather Birkby, who was crowned RHS School Gardener of the Year 2015, will spend the day gardening with Frances as part of her prize for winning the national competition.
Fifteen-year-old Heather, who wowed Frances and the other competition judges with her extensive horticultural knowledge and her natural ability to inspire those around her, will introduce Frances to Broughton’s gardening club before taking her on a tour of the school’s gardens.
Frances, who has appeared with Alan Titchmarsh on ITV’s Love Your Garden, and who is a contributor to the BBC One’s Gardeners’ World, will also join pupils as they begin the work to transform a disused area of the school into a reflection garden that will provide a relaxing space and motivating outdoor classroom for pupils.
Speaking about the very special visit Heather said: “It’s a great honour to have the advice and support of a skilled horticulturist like Frances, I’m sure it will help us to make the most of our new reflection garden.
“Winning the title of RHS Young School Gardener of the Year has brought huge benefits not just to me, but to mine and other local schools. More pupils are interested in gardening and more people want to be involved in the school gardening club. It has been a fantastic experience and I encourage any schools that are considering entering to get involved!”
Horticulturist, television presenter and RHS School Gardeners of the Year judge Frances Tophill said: “After being so impressed by Heather’s horticultural knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm last year, I am thrilled to be able to offer any advice I can to support her gardening endeavours, as well as those of her fellow pupils.
“It’s essential that we train and inspire the horticulturists of the future, and I am proud to be part of the RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition which gives people the recognition they deserve for their wonderful work.”
Sarah Cathcart, RHS Head of Education and Learning, said: “The RHS School Gardeners of the Year is a fantastic way to showcase the talent of the country’s young horticulturists, involve more schools in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and enthuse more children and young people about the benefits of horticulture and the diverse career opportunities it can provide.
“It’s lovely to have this opportunity to celebrate young talented horticulturists like Heather, and thank them for their hard work and enthusiasm.”
RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2016 is currently open for entries. Schools can nominate pupils and teachers for three special awards via the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website. Deadline for entries is 22 April 2016.
Photo Call/Interview Notice
With: Frances Tophill and Heather Birkby
When: 1:30-2:00 on Tuesday 22 March
Where: Broughton High School, Woodplumpton Lane, Preston PR3 5JJ
Interviewees: Frances Tophill and Heather Birkby
Broughton High School contact: Jane Sims, 01772 863849
For more information please contact Siobhán MacMahon in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3043 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening actively involves more than 26,000 schools and educational organisations across the UK in horticulture. It aims to inspire young people about plants, gardening and their environment and consider further education and careers in horticulture and science. Through gardening they learn about healthy food and wildlife as well as important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Resources including information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors. Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening online: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/home
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.
We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.
The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262