Trophy delight for allotment winners

CHAMPION gardeners enjoyed the fruits of their labours at the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association Awards.

Trophies were presented to the proud winners during a ceremony at the Furzedown Hotel in Yarmouth last week.

The awards were being held for the first time in eight years after new committee members decided to revive the event.

Categories included best plot, best ladies’ plot, best group and most improved site along with certificates of merit.

The revival of the awards reflects the blooming popularity of growing your own which has seen scores of previously neglected allotments bought back into use.

Judges had the unenviable task of deciding the winners after each site committee nominated its best allotments.

General secretary Tony Pitchford said: “The standard was exceptionally high considering the poor growing season.

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“Gardeners take a lot of pride in their allotments and we wanted to recognise the hard work, time and effort put into them.

“There were 140 people at the awards and everyone went home happy; the event will be back next year bigger and better.”

Among the winners on the night was Margaret Williams, from Belton, who won the Best Ladies’ Plot award.

A retired farm supervisor, Margaret, 66, lovingly tends two neighbouring allotments at the Western Road site in Gorleston.

She said: “I worked on the land for 20 years, and love the outdoor life. Having an allotment brings you close to nature and you get rewarded with lots of fruit and vegetables.

“I keep my paths mown, grow a good selection of flowers, fruit and vegetables and am down there every day weather permitting. There is great camaraderie between the plot holders, we all get on and help each other out.”

The allotment association is one of the largest in the country, with more than 1,000 plots covering 14 sites across the borough.

Recently an area of overgrown wilderness at the Fremantle Road site has been bought back into use and is now flourishing again.

The association is independent, owns all its land and is completely self-financing with each member a shareholder.

Plots still become available at regular intervals and there is a waiting list of less than a year for new members.

Chairman Arthur Fisk said: “We have spent a considerable amount of money in the previous two years improving most sites and the feedback we have received is encouraging.

“Currently the association is buzzing with a great deal of new found enthusiasm which is reflected in the success of the awards.”

Anyone interested in an allotment should call Arthur Fisk on 01493 658750 or Tony Pitchford on 07780757466.

l Winner best plot: East Coast Waste Cup – David Harman, Crab Lane, Gorleston.

l Runner-up – David Loades, Selwyn Road, Gorleston.

l Best tenant in full-time employment – David Loades, Selwyn Road

l Runner-up – Trevor Barber, Wood Farm, Gorleston

l Best ladies’ plot, Jack Fisher Cup – Margaret Williams, Western Road, Gorleston.

l Runner-up – Valerie Riches.

Best overall group – Selwyn Road.

Most improved site – Fremantle/Whitegates.

The following plot holders were awarded certificates of merit: Barbara Jackman; David Hyde; Michael Symonds; Luis Bantia; Ron Harrison; John Palmer; L. Newstead; Terry Bowles; John Cuffley; Sandra Green; Walter Welton; Susan Tovey; Michael Bryenton; Anne Symonds; William Edwards; Dennis Alcock; Peter and Shirley Halifax; Andrew James; Richard Tough; Philip Wain; Graham Thomson; Eunice Christian; Toao Pedro Mendoca; Dennis Brown; J. Sexton; M. Rivett; Reggie Crowe; Jean Bates; Michael Martins; Terry Philpott; Ralph Brackenbury; Katrina Marsham; Trudie Bloomfield; David Glasby; Charles Millican; Dennis Brown; Bob Braybrooke; Dennis Brown.