GREEN fingered pupils at a County Durham primary school are celebrating after their gardening work scooped top awards.

Gilesgate Primary School in Durham won Best Overall Entry and Best Educational Group Project in the Beautiful Durham gardening competition, which is organised by Durham County Council as part of and in support of the Durham in Bloom campaign.

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The competition, which has been running for the past 36 years, encourages floral displays and environmental improvements in the Durham City area.

It is open to individuals, groups and associations who are invited to apply in many different categories.

Pupils at Gilesgate Primary School have undertaken environmental improvements in their neighbourhood, such as bulb planting, and help the council plant floral displays off Gilesgate roundabout every June. Their gardening work is led by headteacher Mark Turner with support from volunteer Ron Potter.

Footage of the school and its allotment feature on the Royal Horticultural Society website after it was filmed during a RHS visit to Durham as part of the Community Awards 2021.

Councillor Mark Wilkes, the council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, and Chairman Cllr Watts Stelling visited the school recently to help celebrate the children’s green success.

Cllr Stelling said: “A huge well done to the pupils at Gilesgate Primary School on winning Best Overall Entry and the Best Educational Group award this year.

“The judges were really impressed with the pupils’ gardening knowledge and enthusiasm. Through their own efforts, they have not only been recognised locally but also regionally and nationally through Northumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom.

“We value the school’s participation and support and long may it continue.”

Mr Turner said: “The children of Gilesgate Primary School have supported Beautiful Durham and entered their school allotment into the competition each year since 2014. We are very proud to enter part each year and honoured to be overall winner in 2021.

“The allotment has developed and improved over this time with the help of the children, parents and community volunteers. The children grow from seed then use their produce in cooking, or we sell it to buy the seed for the following year. We gather and store water on site, make our own compost and encourage pollinators through the careful choice of plants.”

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