North East Connected

Success for primary schools in gardening challenge

Two primary schools are celebrating after their great gardening efforts saw them emerge victorious in a county-wide competition.

Earlier this year, Durham County Council ran a growing challenge, with schools and community groups encouraged to grow the tallest sunflower or largest pumpkin.

In total, 46 schools and 28 community groups entered the challenge, which is arranged by the council’s waste strategy team in partnership with Durham Community Action’s Growing Durham project.

The largest pumpkin was grown by green-fingered pupils from Escomb Primary’s gardening club, run by teaching assistant Sam Gillis and parent helper Wendy Howe.

The group, who met every Wednesday after school during the summer, won the competition with their pumpkin weighing in at 5kg.

Cockfield Primary gardening club, led by school caretaker David Blackett, were also successful with their sunflower measuring 375cm.

Both schools received £100 of national gardening vouchers to enable them to buy sunflower seeds and new equipment for their gardens.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “This challenge helped encourage the local community to get growing and it was great to see so many people enter the competition.

“Pupils at the winning schools should be proud of their efforts and their prizes will help their gardens go from strength to strength.”

Around one third of an average UK household bin can be composted at home, including garden waste. To encourage others to get composting, Durham County Council has teamed up with to offer home compost bins at special offer prices from £17.98.

There is also a buy one get one half price offer to purchase a second bin from only £8.99.

To order a bin or for more information visit 0844 571 4444 or visit

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