Planting has kept me rooted - from the POW camp to our council house

Eddie Hunn, who was awarded Champion of Champions at the Great Yarmouth In Bloom Awards 2014, pictur

Eddie Hunn, who was awarded Champion of Champions at the Great Yarmouth In Bloom Awards 2014, pictured with his late wife Doris. - Credit: Archant

I attended the Great Yarmouth in Bloom awards ceremony at the Town Hall on Friday evening. I was awarded the top honour of being Champion of Champions.

Now, I wish to register my sincerest thanks to Sue Hacon for this honour. Everyone attending greatly appreciated the hard work and dedication by Sue Hacon and her committee over the summer months and their final presentation.

Also thanks be given to the Town Hall for such a wonderful venue for this occasion and for providing such a generous, succulent buffet.

Doris, my late wife of 69 years, has always been interested in gardens, winning top awards in previous Great Yarmouth In Bloom contests.

This year I have made a special effort to present a garden up to her standard. She would be very pleased to know that I have won the top award.

Now I should relate that in 1938 I joined the Territorial Army, the 5th Bn. Royal Norfolk Regiment, and served for seven years over WW2, during which time I was sent to the Far East to fight the Japanese and was eventually taken as a POW at Singapore, a prisoner for 3 ½ long years.

Worked on the infamous Japanese railway from Bangkok to Rangoon at the cost of thousands of lives.

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I can now recall several unique gardening related events over many years and at various locations;

? As a soldier, whilst stationed with my unit in Cheshire and where Doris and I first met, I would visit her home and dig up her front garden and plant vegetables to help the war effort.

? As a POW in a jungle camp (after the completion of the railway) then cutting and stockpiling wood for their wood burning railway engines. We were ordered to start growing vegetables, sweet potatoes and green-leaved plants for food situated above the river flood levels after the monsoon floods.

? In 1946, the war now over, in our ‘prefab’ garden we had an Anderson bomb shelter as our garden shed

? After moving from ‘prefab’ to a council house, our front garden with lawn and flowers and at the side, ‘tobacco plants’. The large leaves picked, sprinkled with rum and dried in an airing cupboard. The leaves then bound in long roll by cord to provide me with plug tobacco, just as I had whilst a POW.

Now looking forward to next year’s gardening events and many more to come.

EDDIE HUNN (aged 94)

Garfield Road,

Great Yarmouth