October 16, 2017

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Scottish pupil named Young School Gardener of the Year in National Gardening Competition

A green-fingered ten-year-old from Fife has been named Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Young School Gardener of the Year 2017, supported by Gabriel Ash. Fraser White, who attends Dairsie Primary School near St Andrews, battled against hundreds of other youngsters from across the UK to win the coveted national title.

The annual competition is aimed at unearthing the next generation of star gardeners and Fraser was nominated for the award by his teacher, who described him as “a walking advert for the good gardening can do for a person”.

Fraser impressed the judges with his huge commitment to the school’s community garden and how dedicated he is to sharing his love of gardening. Fraser said that gardening is like “something sent from above” and he has used the school garden to help him make friends, relax and feel calm.

BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter, Frances Tophill, is a competition judge and presented Fraser with his award at RHS Garden Wisley.

Frances said: “What stood out about Fraser is how his life has been transformed through gardening. He clearly loves coming into school to work in the garden and has dedicated himself to sharing his enthusiasm with the rest of the school and wider community.

“Fraser even gives up his Saturdays to help in the garden and has planned and organised gardening activities for the community including a toddler group and a local guild.”

Fraser’s prizes for being crowned RHS Young School Gardener of the Year include an engraved hand trowel trophy, framed certificate and the opportunity to spend the day working with RHS gardeners. His school will receive a Baby Grand Coldframe worth £475 manufactured by Gabriel Ash, £100 worth of seeds and £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers.

The RHS awards ceremony also saw David Nicol, a science teacher at the Good Shepherd Centre in Bishopton near Glasgow, named the RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year 2017.

The School Gardening Champion award recognises a teacher or other adult who is passionate about encouraging gardening and an inspiration to the children they teach.

David has worked for six years at the centre which is a secure unit for some of the most disadvantaged and under-represented young people in Scotland. He has gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to build a garden from scratch and engage, interest and inspire those staying at the centre.

Tom Laurie, head of education at the centre, who nominated David said: “For most of these young people a garden was something that other people had, or which existed only on television. David has now changed their perceptions completely and given them ownership of, and pride in, their own garden.”

Competition judge and RHS skills development manager, Claire Custance said: “David has made a remarkable difference to the lives of the young people he teaches and is a truly inspirational figure.

“Since introducing gardening at the centre, David has used it to bring the curriculum alive and teach lots of other useful new skills. The young people have been encouraged to eat more healthily and there’s been noticeable improvements to their wellbeing. He’s a very deserving winner.”

As part of his prize David will receive a free place on an RHS Campaign for School Gardening Teaching Training Course and RHS Flower Show tickets.

The Good Shepherd Centre will receive a VIP visit from a celebrity gardener, an Upright Coldframe worth £699 manufactured by Gabriel Ash, £100 worth of seeds and £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers.

A 31-strong group of secondary school pupils from Hammersmith in London have been named RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2017. An award designed to identify an outstanding school team that has shown excellent teamwork and made a difference to their school environment.

The Hammersmith Academy team was commended for not just establishing a garden from scratch in a previously grey area of the school grounds, but their work in the local community. They have greened areas outside the school and have made the garden of a local care home more wildlife friendly. This year, they have started to run workshops to share their gardening skills with local primary schools.

Patrick Kirwan, the KS5 Science coordinator at the school said: “In just two years our students have made an outstanding horticultural contribution to our school and local community. Our inner city school lacked a much needed area for nature and wildlife and our students have created a tranquil setting where people gather to unwind and relax.”

Zephaniah Lindo, competition judge and a lecturer in horticulture at Capel Manor College, London said: “It’s wonderful to see a group of secondary school pupils so enthusiastic about gardening. They are always encouraging other students to join the gardening club and embrace opportunities to get involved in the wider community.”

Hammersmith Academy’s winning team will be presented with their prize of a Classic ‘Eight’ cedar greenhouse, donated by Gabriel Ash at an event later in the year. They will also receive £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers and a celebrity gardener will spend a day at the school to work with the gardening team.

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