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Students win RHS silver medal

A team comprised of Weston College students and staff has won a Royal Horticulture Society silver medal for bringing a local gardener’s designs to life.

Students within Foundation Learning courses at Weston College have worked with award-winning gardener Mark Walker since the start of the year to create a garden based on designs from Mark’s book ‘The Woodcutter’s Story’.

The ambitious project was led by Pete Lane, a Lecturer in Horticulture working with NEET students at the College, and exhibited at the Malvern Spring Festival.

Pete said: “It was fantastic for the students’ effort and enthusiasm to be rewarded with a silver medal, but the project is far from over.

“The next step is to bring the garden back to the College’s South West Skills Campus, where it will be reconstructed and stay as a permanent installation for College students and staff to enjoy.”

The students played a vital role in propagating the plants and helping to construct the ‘woodcutter’s cottage’, learning vocational skills such as wood craft, logistics and horticulture; while also learning about teamwork, communication and planning. The project inspired the students, who have previously found education challenging, and has helped them overcome many of their learning barriers.

Sam Mayhew, Weston College’s Head of Faculty for Image and Inclusive Practice, said: “We are so proud of the way the students represented the College through this innovative external project with a fantastic result.”

The silver medal was presented to the team by the RHS Ambassador Mary Berry at the festival, which this year attracted over 90,000 visitors.

The project was also supported by a number of local companies who donated timber, tools and expertise to the development. These include Fountain Forestry, Brandon Tool Hire and Badman & Badman Joinery Ltd.

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