‘Green fingered’ pupils at Dickson

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THE results of the 2011 Primary Schools Gardening competition have been announced - with two local primary schools finishing as runners-up.

Organised by local MLA Sam Gardiner the competition offered a £1,000 first prize, won by Andrews Memorial Primary School in Comber. Dickson Primary School, Lurgan and Rowandale Integrated PS in Moira were the runners-up.

“The judges were delighted with the very high standard throughout the competition and I know they faced a very difficult job in choosing between the five finalists. All five finalists were very close. Comber is a very worthy winner,” said Mr Gardiner.

“When we visited all the competing schools we found out that there is a lot of really good work going on in our primary schools. Gardening is being used as a vehicle for both science lessons and enterprise training quite apart from the benefits it brings in itself. What impressed us was the energy and commitment of the teachers and other staff, the knowledge of the pupils and the fun people were having.

“I took no part in the judging but I was very proud that Dickson Primary School in Lurgan, where I am Chair of Governors was the runner up. The terrific lead given by Miss Sergeant in gardening is evident everywhere.

“Judges were met by Child Ambassadors on arrival who did a great job of showing the judges around. It was a very memorable visit. Judges were very amused that the “bug hotel” in the school which was made up of garden palates was known as “Buginham Palates. The judges loved their time at Dickson Primary School.

“Of course, the main reason I started this competition was to encourage primary school kids to ‘grow their own’. It seemed to me that primary school age kids were the place to start changing attitudes to gardening and to build from there. This helps to get children away from sitting in front of computer screens in a world of virtual reality, virtual friends and chat rooms. When someone learns how to garden it is a skill that stays with them for the rest of their life. You can see how being able to do this would not only help keep people healthy but it would help to cut household expenditure in future.”

Mr Gardiner went on: “I want to thank all the schools for showing us hospitality and a friendly welcome. I would like to commend the four runners-up – Dickson primary in Lurgan, Rowandale Integrated Primary in Moira, Killylea Primary in Armagh, and Ballycraigy Primary in Antrim for their terrific presentations. They were most impressive. I want to thank all the other schools who entered and thank them for participating.”

The completion will run again for its second year beginning in May.