A WOMAN has credited one of the hottest summers in history with helping her to win a housing association’s annual gardening competition.

Denise Atkinson is the first person to win Railway Housing Association’s competition twice, taking the prize in 2014 and 2018.

Her garden, in Mainsforth Terrace, Ferryhill, was chosen from a selection of photographs shown to tenant members of the Association's Focus Groups and Residents’ Forum.

In a record year for entries, residents picked out Denise’s garden for its colour and range of plants and flowers.

Denise, 54, was recently presented with her prize of a trophy, flowers and £50 worth of vouchers.

She said: “The warm weather we had in the summer really helped to prolong the life of the garden this year; I even had flowers still blooming in November.”

Mobile hairdresser Denise says she spends an average of 15 hours a week in her garden at the height of the gardening season.

She added: “It’s my only real hobby outside of work and spending time with my children and grandchildren and the summer of 2018 made it even nicer.

“It’s lovely to know that other Railway Housing Association residents chose my garden to be the winner– I am honoured.”

Railway Housing Association’s director of customer services, Andrea Abbott, said: “I was amazed when I visited Denise’s home in winter 2018 that there was still so much colour in her garden.

“This was a record year for entries and we short-listed 30 gardens, with our Focus Groups and Residents’ Forum being shown photographs and asked to vote for their favourite.

“Denise obviously works very hard in her garden and is a very deserving winner.”