• Durham OnAir

Young gardeners dig up awards


Green-fingered pupils at a County Durham primary school are celebrating after their

gardening work scooped top awards.


Gilesgate Primary School in Durham held a special assembly to celebrate its success as

Best Overall Entry in the Beautiful Durham gardening competition, while it was also

awarded Best Educational Group Project in the same awards.


The Beautiful Durham competition is organised by Durham County Council as part of and

in support of the Durham in Bloom campaign. The competition, which has been running for

the past 36 years, encourages floral displays and environmental improvements in the

Durham City area. It is open to individuals, groups and associations who are invited to

apply in many different categories.


Pupils at Gilesgate Primary School have undertaken environmental improvement works in

their neighbourhood, such as bulb planting, and assist the council with the planting of a

carpet bed flower display off Gilesgate roundabout every June.


Only recently, when a film crew on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) visited

Durham as part of the Community Awards 2021, the school, which is a Durham in Bloom

group partner, was able to assist with the filming of the school allotment. This has resulted

in various clips being used in the video montages of the various categories on the RHS

website.


Cllr Mark Wilkes, the council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change,

and council Chairman Cllr Watts Stelling visited the school to help celebrate the children’s

green success.


The school’s gardening work is led by headteacher Mark Turner with support from local

volunteer Ron Potter.


Cllr Stelling said: “A huge well done to the pupils at Gilesgate Primary School on winning

Best Overall Entry and the Best Educational Group award this year.


“The judges were really impressed with the pupils’ gardening knowledge and enthusiasm.

Through their own efforts, they have not only been recognised locally but also regionally

and nationally through Northumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom.


“We value the school’s participation and support and long may it continue.”

Mr Turner said: “The children of Gilesgate Primary School have supported Beautiful

Durham and entered their school allotment into the competition each year since 2014. We

are very proud to enter part each year and honoured to be overall winner in 2021.


“The allotment has developed and improved over this time with the help of the children,

parents and community volunteers. The children grow from seed then use their produce in

cooking, or we sell it to buy the seed for the following year. We gather and store water on

site, make our own compost and encourage pollinators through the careful choice of

plants.”