'Exceptional' young students chosen for final
7 June 2012
A shortlist of 16 finalists has been picked from all the entries in the first annual competition to find the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2012, launched by David Domoney at RHS Show Cardiff in April.
The TV gardener, also a judge for the competition, says: 'My first experience of horticulture was at school and for this reason I feel this initiative is one of the most important I have done. At school I developed my love for gardening - watching things grow was fascinating and amazing to me, it inspired me and this passion has been with me ever since. We need to inspire all kids in the UK to garden, their lives will be the richer for it. I can’t wait to get stuck in to the second round of judging although I know it’s not going to be an easy decision picking the winner!'
Secondary and primary school teachers up and down the country have been nominating pupils who have shown exceptional skill and enthusiasm for gardening and the RHS has picked the most outstanding entries:
Key Stage 1/P1 & 2 in Scotland (ages 5-7)
Anna McCloskey - Groarty Controlled Integrated Primary School, Londonderry Northern Ireland
Faye Nicholson - St Cuthbert's RC Primary School, Tyne and Wear
Toby Owen-Hughes - Meadowside School, North Yorkshire
Ashton Proctor - Great Missenden C of E Combined School, Buckinghamshire
Key Stage 2/P3 – 6 in Scotland (ages 7-11)
Katie Willoughby - Heatherside Junior School, Hampshire
Lucas Hatch - St Mary's CEVA Primary School, Suffolk
Megan Jackson - Prestonpans Primary School, East Lothian
Tom Irish - Landscove C of E Primary School, Devon
Key Stage 3/P7 and S1 & 2 in Scotland (ages 11-14)
Henry Grub - Imberhorne School, West Sussex
Thomas Cheshire - Moreton Community School, Wolverhampton
Matthew Angrave-Smith - St George's School, Hertfordshire
Asif Edwards - City of Leeds School, Leeds
Key Stage 4/S3 & 4 in Scotland (ages 14-16)
Dean Slater - Pebble Brook, Buckinghamshire
Alan Monk - Oaklands Catholic School, Hampshire
Connor Kenyon - Broad Oak Sports College, Lancashire
Kerri Fazackerly - St Thomas Boteler C of E High School, Warrington
Each student’s school will be given a digital camcorder by the RHS as a prize for them getting this far. They must use these cameras to make films demonstrating why they’re such exemplary gardeners and submit the film by 5 July 2012.
The winner of each age group will receive gardening tools and £500 in garden gift vouchers for their schools. The overall winner, crowned RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2012, will spend a day at an RHS Garden of their choice, working with an RHS gardener and receive family tickets to either RHS Flower Show Tatton Park or RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2013, some garden tools and £500 in garden gift vouchers for their school.
Judges of the competition include Gardening Editor for The Sun newspaper, Peter Seabrook, and Curator of RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Elizabeth Balmforth.
Jacky Chave, RHS Strategic Schools Manager, says: 'A recent RHS survey has shown that we need to do more to inspire children at a young age that horticulture is a career worth considering. The breadth and variety of roles within the industry is enormous and there is an urgent concern that not enough young people are developing the skills to fill the minimum requirement of 11,000 jobs that the sector needs over the next eight years. This is why this competition matters so much.
It was very hard picking the shortlist and took many long hours of deliberating as the details given were truly inspiring but we think we’ve whittled it down to the top candidates – just getting this far will look great on their CV and I wish them the best of luck making their films.'