A MAN who carries 50 buckets of water through his house to ensure his garden is in perfect condition has won a housing association’s annual gardening competition.

Bill Scott’s garden in East Rainton was the overwhelming choice of people who voted in an online poll set up by Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) for its 2020 Pot Plant/Gardening Competition.

The 82-year-old’s display of flowers in his front garden wowed a judging panel of over 20 people, which included DAMHA residents, staff and board members.

His garden was among ten short-listed for judging in what turned out to be the most keenly contested competition in the long history of the competition.

Mr Scott said: “I was overwhelmed when I was told my garden had won, in fact it still hasn’t fully sunk in.

“It’s lovely to know that so many people liked my garden and it has certainly made all the effort I put in worthwhile.”

Mr Scott, who receives a £50 cash prize for winning, says his garden is a real labour of love.

He adds: “I live on my own, so gardening keeps me occupied and at the height of spring and summer I spend four hours a day outside, planting, watering, and doing general maintenance to ensure it looks as nice and possible.

“I don’t have an outside water tap, so I need to carry water from the back of the house to the front garden and at one point this amounted to 50 cans of water each day.

“The lovely weather we had in April, May and June really helped the garden and even now, with all the rain we had in August, it is still blooming, so I couldn’t be happier.

“Winning the competition has given me the bug and I am already planning for next year when hopefully I can be successful again.”

Paul Mullis, DAMHA chief executive said: “This was the first year that we carried out an online poll and more people than ever before were involved in the judging.

“We took pictures of all ten short-listed gardens with the judges being asked to rank their top three, and Mr Scott’s was the overwhelming number one choice.

“It was clear the amount of hard work and effort he put into his garden and he is a deserving winner.

“With the Government lock-down, it was clear that more people were concentrating on making their gardens look great this year and we had more entries than ever before.

“It’s pleasing to see so many people taking pride in their gardens and we would like to thank everyone who entered – they are also a real credit to DAMHA and their local communities.”

Second prize went to Ralph Barkham, of West Rainton, and third prize went to Patricia Kavanagh, of Ferryhill.