Chancellor George Osborne has given full marks to a Cheshire school mentored by Reaseheath College’s Master of Horticulture Harry Delaney.
The Chancellor visited Comberbach Primary School Northwich school last week to help pupils and staff celebrate their Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 5 Top School Gardening Award.
The accolade has only been achieved by 16 schools in the north west and is awarded to outstanding gardening projects which are used for teaching and learning and involve pupils, staff and the community.
Comberbach Primary School has a flourishing kitchen garden and pupils grow fruit and vegetables for their school dinners. The varieties include more unusual vegetables such as yams and mini cucumbers and this year will include ‘heritage’ vegetables from Cheshire.
Mr Osborne, who is MP for Tatton and has the school in his constituency, visited the Big Lottery funded project when it was launched two years ago and returned to share its success.
He watched as RHS North West Regional Schools Advisor Anne Gunning handed over the award to Garden Project Leader Babirye Gregory, who leads several Level 5 kitchen garden projects in Cheshire schools. Babirye is a former RHS student at Reaseheath College in Nantwich and Harry Delaney has continued to support her by working with the Comberbach pupils in their garden.
After the presentation, Mr Osborne joined the pupils to admire some of the crops growing in raised beds. After picking Timperley early rhubarb and tasting home-made rhubarb crumble he said: “It’s wonderful seeing this brilliant introduction to gardening. This is a great initiative from the RHS and it has been led very successfully by Babirye Gregory with support from Reaseheath College. I am so pleased that the school has won this award.”
The project is part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which aims to inspire young people into horticulture.
Said Babirye: “This has been a fantastic gardening achievement for our pupils. As a gardener I am passionate about showing young people how satisfying and enjoyable it is to grow their own food. I believe it is vitally important that children have the opportunity to learn where their food comes from. Through gardening, children begin to understand and explore their relationship with the natural world and the impact our food choices make on our planet.”
Commented Harry: “Gardening sessions at school inspired me to take up horticulture as a career but this part of the curriculum has gradually disappeared. It’s really encouraging to see this vital education link restored at Comberbach between the pupils, the soil and cropping plants. I hope that in future we shall see these young gardeners choosing horticulture as a fulfilling and rewarding career.”