A GARDENING show once threatened with closure is blooming again after bedding down in its new home.

Durham's Annual Autumn Produce Show has been held for 30 years in the town hall and, recently, the Gala Theatre.

The show faced ruin when Durham City Council pulled the plug on funding in May.

However, Durham County Council stepped in to save the event, and the first Durham Horticultural and Craft Show took place in County Hall this weekend.

One of the men behind the revival of the event is Peter Thompson, Durham county councillor for Gilesgate and a keen gardener.

"People were devastated," said Coun Thompson. "The decision was made by the city council in May, when growers had already set their stalls out."

Coun Thompson helped set up a committee to ensure the show went ahead this year, and asked his fellow councillors for financial support.

The re-launching of the event has made it one of the most successful shows in recent years, attracting more than 650 entries from almost 100 exhibitors - double last year's total.

About 1,000 visitors came through the doors over the weekend.

"There is a lot of talk that these traditions are dying out, but in many respects what we are seeing is a resurgence," said Coun Thompson. "We are absolutely delighted."

Exhibitors came from across the county, including Kevin Wiseman, of Easington Lane, who came away with three trophies in the vegetable classes.

"Events like this bring communities back together," he said. "It is very important that we keep them going, and the organisers did really well to put this on at all this year."

While a firm decision on whether to organise a show for next year still has to be made, the organisers are already looking at expanding.

Ideas include using the grounds of the hall for trade exhibitors, and a bigger programme of activities for children.

"If we do go ahead next year, there is a lot of scope to expand," said Coun Thompson.

"Hopefully, there will be more to get children involved and ensure that the traditions of the North-East are maintained by future generations."



Joyce Graydon Trophy for most successful in show, R Gleason. Charles Shell Memorial Trophy for rose classes, E Taylorson. Jimmy Turnbull Trophy for chrysanthemum classes, Audrey Simpson. Doreen Hartwell Memorial Trophy for most successful in floral classes, R Gleason. Tom Marsden Challenge Cup for carnations, E Payne. Michael Rochford Challenge Cup for rose buttonhole, E Taylorson. Steven Laverick Trophy for carnations, Gordon McKee. Wheatley Ridley Memorial Trophy for gladioli, R Gleason.


BBC Radio Newcastle Trophy for most successful in vegetable classes, Kevin Wiseman. Norman Jevons Challenge Cup for leek and onion classes, Kevin Wiseman. John Quayle Challenge Cup for pot leeks class, Kevin Wiseman. Arthur Stock Rose Bowl for best pot leeks, Thomas Kelsey. Durham City Gardens Guild Perpetual Challenge Cup for largest onion, R Bailey. Durham City Gardens Guild Salvin Cup for best collection of vegetables, George Parry. George Humphries Memorial Trophy for best three onions, M Pallister. Ralph Fleetham Memorial Trophy for best three tomatoes, Norman Lee.

Flower Arrangements

County Durham Bowl, Mrs M Wil-cockson and Mrs A Clark.


Durham Cup, Mrs K Dawson.


Jobes Championship Trophy, Mrs Sarah Fawcett.


Derek Hudspeth Challenge Trophy, Mrs Jane Pegram and Ms Nancy Wells.

Homemade Country Wines

Gerry Steinberg Trophy, Mrs H Ramsay.

Home Crafts

JRW Rae Cup, Mrs PM Oswald.


Creator's Cup, Sheila and Denis Browbank.

Children's Classes

RJ Turnbull Cup, for 12 to 16 years, Rebecca Harrison. George Clarkson Trophy, for eight to 11, Charlotte Lynn. Durham Pride Trophy, for four to seven, Olivia Fawcett. County Cup, Trinity School, Durham