Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School’s Gardening Club is rounding off a summer filled with Gold Awards from RHS Wisley and nominations for ‘RHS Gardening Team of the Year 2017’, with another win. Children at the Oxfordshire Primary School have been crowned the champions of Wilkinson Sword’s Gardening for Schools competition.
The competition challenged primary schoolchildren to design their ideal fruit and vegetable garden for their school. Hundreds of youngsters submitted their painstakingly-planned plots but in the end, there could be only one winner.
On a sunny July afternoon, staff from Wilkinson Sword visited the school to meet the impressive children, and to provide them with their prizes; an extensive hamper full of all the tools they need to keep their garden growing. Diana Thomas, proud mum to Garden Club members Imogen (nine) and Joel (six), explained how both children attend the club every Wednesday, as well as tending to their own allotment. “I am extremely proud that all of their hard work is paying off,” she commented, adding that they love growing their own fruit and vegetables, and can’t wait to start using the new tools.
Helping to present the prizes was the RHS Young Gardener of the Year (2012), Lucas Hatch, who also provided a fig growing masterclass! Lucas is just approaching his 14th birthday, but has a wealth of experience under his belt already and knows all about encouraging children to garden, spending a lot of time at his old primary school helping children to develop their gardens.
The Gardening Club is run by the very dedicated Sue Finney, who commented on the day, " It is a great honour that Stanford in the Vale Gardening Club members have become overall winners of this prestigious award. The children's garden designs shall be used to revamp our growing area with the help of our new tools. A big thank you to the Wilkinson Sword team and a very inspirational thank you to Lucas Hatch who has inspired many Stanford young garden members - we love the tools and meeting everyone."
Nick Hills, Garden Division General Manager for Wilkinson Sword said: “We had no idea how popular this would be, or quite how high the quality of applicants would be, but the judges were so impressed with the standard of design that the Stanford in the Vale children came up with, choosing them as the winner was an easy decision. They impressed all of the judges with their imaginative and competent design.”
The school Gardening Club operates once a week, as an after-school activity and, as their application letter points out, many children still attend even once they have left the primary school. Not only that, but the children have a strong commitment to their community, and plant up the borders at the entrance to the village every year, and plant wildflowers in the park.
Of the competition, and worthy winners Nick commented, “We are passionate about getting children more involved in the garden, and are proud to play a part in this inspirational gardening club’s ongoing horticultural education. The success of this first competition has inspired us to make it an annual event, rolling it out to the rest of the country next year. We hope that this will encourage more children to get motivated about getting their hands dirty, and their tummies full of home grown food!”
Further information about Wilkinson Sword’s range of garden tools can be found at www.wilkinsonsword-tools.co.uk.