Ex-soldiers from Leigh dig for victory in garden scheme

Veterans and volunteers assembled at the Shoulder to Soldier allotment at Bents in Glazebury
Veterans and volunteers assembled at the Shoulder to Soldier allotment at Bents in Glazebury

An allotment project dug by veterans from Leigh and surrounding areas has been named the best in the north.

Former troopers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and volunteers are behind the award-winning Shoulder to Soldier garden at Bents in Glazebury.

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For their sterling efforts, first launched last October, the charity has been selected as the regional winner by Cultivation Street, a community growing campaign.

Green-fingered recruits have secured a £1,000 prize and will take delivery of 1,000 geraniums, as their prize.

Judges said: “This was a very inspiring garden as it has been improved a lot over such a short amount of time.

“They originally built the garden and allotment for ex-veterans.

“But due to its success have opened it up to schools and kids clubs in the area.

“They have a range of people attend including ex-veterans with PTSD.”

A remembrance garden, including crosses sent in from around the country, is one of the central features for the attraction, which sits among 40 other allotments at the Bents site.

And a Valhall-style boat has been drafted in from a ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Charity founder Linda Fisher said: “This has been an amazing project to be part of, our team are proud to have won the regional award.

“We have had so much support from the local community and have received many kind donations.

“Veterans with specialist skills have used their talents to deliver an inspirational allotment to be enjoyed by all who come down.”

Eight beds have been given over to potato, onion and other vegetable crops and are open to the community.

The allotments are also wheelchair accessible, for disabled veterans and community members.

Supporters will find out whether they have been successful in the national heat on September 23.

Vying for the UK title alongside them will be a community garden tended by refugees and recovering drug addicts i n Tayside.

Another contender will be a little haven created by day centre users at a cottage hospital in Pembrokeshire.

Extra assistance is also being sought by the charity to help to develop the community garden yet further.

Those interested in lending a hand can ring 0751 589 2720 or call in at their headquarters on Church Street for more information.