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RHS Community Award win for Jenny Wigston and the West Jesmond Primary School allotment plot.

Jenny tells us more about the excellent RHS award she received in March

I started my gardening journey when I volunteered at Hexham Herbs, Susie’s beautiful walled garden at Chollerford. That was about 30 years ago. Then Hugh Smith asked me if I’d like to help set a school garden up in 2000 to give something back to the school and provide some much needed green space for the children to have some gardening experience in. The rest is history, but when Hugh sadly started to get poorly he asked Gavin and Joan Aarvold if they could come and help me run the garden which was by then 4 allotments. Since we lost Hugh the numbers of loyal volunteers has grown to 12 and the garden has never looked better! Thinking back, I really don’t know how Hugh and I managed all the work by ourselves, no wonder it used to look so wild!

Susie has supported our garden hugely over the years by providing plants from her own garden at Allendale for us to sell so we can be self sufficient financially. She is definitely part of our award winning team, along with Gavin and Joan and all our volunteers, and non of this would have happened with out Hugh’s vision.

I got fantastic feedback at the RHS ceremony and community gardening, especially with children, is definitely on their agenda. This community award has only been going for 2 years and I’m the second person to win it. Everybody I spoke to that day had started gardening with parents etc as children and had worked their way up the gardening ladder to become some of the most important head gardeners in the country. Not many careers offer that nowadays. Sowing seeds in children minds has to be our focus for the gardeners of the future.

Would like this award to benefit as many of us as possible and its all good publicity for our wonderful site.

Jenny Wigston


Excerpt and link from the RHS website below :-

Community Award

The Community Award may be awarded to anyone in the UK who has made an outstanding contribution to a community gardening programme over a period of time, including community gardens, orchards, urban and rural programmes that bring value to the wider community that they are based.

The 2023 Community Award was awarded to Jenny Wigston.


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