Twickenham Pupil Celebrates National Competition

Thursday 23 March 2017

Frances Tophill, BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter visits RHS Young School Gardener of the Year

Winner of the Royal Horticultural Society ‘RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2016’, seven-year-old Fred Wilcox, received a special visit from TV gardener Frances Tophill this week (21 March).

The visit to Fred’s school, Trafalgar Infant School in Twickenham, was part of his prize for winning the national school gardening competition. The award goes to a young person, aged 5-16, who demonstrates a true passion for gardening and has made an outstanding contribution to their school.

Fred is a hugely enthusiastic gardener and encourages all his classmates to get stuck in with digging, planting and growing. He is also a key member of the school’s eco team, having led assemblies on how to compost and recycle.

The special visit kicked off with Fred giving Frances a tour of the school garden, showing her the raised beds for vegetable growing, picking chives and lemon balm for Frances to taste in the sensory garden, and going into the chicken run to hunt for some eggs.

Fred and his classmates helped Frances plant an Egremont Russet apple tree in the woodland area to provide the next generation of young school gardeners with tasty apples for years to come.

Frances, who was one of the competition judges said: “It was wonderful to visit Fred and his classmates at Trafalgar Infant School and see their fantastic school garden. Fred clearly loves being in the garden and sharing his knowledge of plants and wildlife. He’s incredibly knowledgeable for his age and full of energy and enthusiasm.”

Rachel Hutchins is Sustainability Coordinator at Fred’s school and oversees the school garden. She has helped Fred to put together a book of photos to record his achievements as RHS Young School Gardener of the Year. Rachel said: “Fred really enjoyed Frances’ visit and showing off all the work he’s done in the school garden. He is a lovely young lad who is so eager to learn and encourage the other children. I’m so proud of him for winning this award and I’m sure he has a very bright future ahead of him.”

As well as the visit, Fred’s prize included a certificate to mark his success, a commemorative engraved trowel, £500 in gardening vouchers, £100 worth of Thompson & Morgan seeds for his school and tickets to an RHS Flower Show.


Notes to editors

For more information or photos please contact Claire Weaver in the RHS press office on 020 7821 3043 or

Notes to Editors:

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which actively involves more than 31,000 schools and groups across the UK in growing and gardening. Children are taught about plants and gardening and their environment.

Through gardening they learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way provides huge benefits. 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:

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

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262