Swindon Pupil Shortlisted for Top Royal Horticultural Society Award

The Chalet School Nominates Dedicated Seven-Year-Old for RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2017

A green-fingered Swindon pupil is in the running to be named the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Young School Gardener of the Year 2017, supported by Gabriel Ash.

Seven-year-old Jamie Akehurst from The Chalet School in Swindon is competing in the 5-7 year-old age category of the national competition, which aims to unearth the next generation of star gardeners.

Jamie is battling against three other youngsters to win his age category and be put forward to compete for the ultimate title in school gardening.

Both the category and the overall winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey in July.

Kathie Bryan, head teacher at the school, explained why she nominated Jamie for the coveted award: “Jamie is passionate about gardening, wildlife and sustainability – he would prefer to spend all of his time outside in our wonderful school garden.

“Last year he took part in our sunflower growing competition and this year, he is growing potatoes for a Francis Drake competiton. Every Friday he waits at the garden gate to go and water the potatoes and see how much the plants have grown.

“As he enjoys gardening so much, he’s learnt a lot of English, Maths and PSHE through it which is great.”

In June a panel of gardening experts including BBC Gardeners’ World and ITV’s Love Your Garden presenter Frances Tophill will judge the entries and pick the category winners.

As part of the judging process, Jamie and the other finalists will create a five-minute video showcasing their passion for gardening. The film will include supportive statements from teachers and fellow pupils about the finalists’ love of gardening. Jamie will receive a digital camera to make his short film which he can keep.

To mark Jamie’s progress to the final he will be presented with a specially engraved hand trowel and framed certificate.  His school will receive gardening equipment worth £475 donated by greenhouse manufacturer and competition supporter Gabriel Ash and a £10 National Garden Gift voucher.

On top of the finalist prizes, the category winner will receive an engraved hand trowel, a set of gardening tools and £250 worth of National Garden Gift vouchers for their school.

Should Jamie win the overall title and be crowned RHS Young School Gardener of the Year 2017, he will have the opportunity to spend the day working with RHS gardeners, receive tickets for either the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018, or RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2018. His school will receive £100 worth of seeds and an extra £250 in National Garden Gift vouchers – a total of £500.

All winners and finalists will be invited, along with two extra guests, to the prize-giving ceremony at RHS Garden Wisley.

The other age groups represented in the competition are: 7 – 11; 11 – 14; 14 – 16. The contest also includes categories to identify a School Gardening Team and School Gardening Champion of the year.