A VOLUNTEER gardener who helps out at a North-East hospice has won an award for his hard work growing fruit and vegetables for patients, raising money for the charity through plant sales and spending time to create a quiet place for people to reflect.

Martin Winn, from Stanley, has been the co-ordinator of the volunteer gardener team at St Cuthbert's Hospice, Durham, for 10 years.

His impressive achievements as a volunteer include developing a cottage garden which supplies fresh fruit and vegetables to the hospice kitchen, a sensory garden for the growing number of patients with dementia and a memory garden which provides a quiet, attractive setting for patients and families to reflect and treasure their memories.

His hard work has resulted in him being named volunteer gardener of the year at the annual Hospice UK awards.

Describing it as an "unexpected honour", he said: "I don't just see it as a personal award but the trophy represents what an excellent garden team we have. The gardens were awarded gold at Northumbria in Bloom this year too.

"These accolades recognise that combining health care along with outdoor gardening activities for our guests really works. I have been at the hospice for 10 years now, and this trophy is the pinnacle for any garden volunteer to win.”

Judges at the ceremony in Liverpool commented on Mr Winn’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability which has been reflected in several measures he has introduced for recycling and he is also a keen grower of bonsai trees which have become a key talking-point in the hospice.

If you would like to enquire about joining the volunteer gardening team please visit www.stcuthbertshospice.com or contact the volunteer coordinator on 0191 374 6169 volunteers@stcuthbertshospice.com