18 November 2019

Penwortham Priory Academy has now won local and regional prizes for our colourful and educational gardens – and next gardener, Mr Farron wants to help the school win national recognition.

Priory were proudly announced as the best in the North West at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom North West award ceremony in Southport earlier this month.

The school won the prestigious Trevor Leese Award for the Outstanding School in the North West, with Trevor Leese the founder of Britain in Bloom.  We were also one of six schools who were awarded the coveted Environmental Award for Schools.

The awards were presented to gardener Mr Farron, Headteacher Mr Eastham, along with former Food Technology teacher Miss Lewis-Lavender who helped with the hospitality while judging took place at school.

Priory has won Penwortham in Bloom awards numerous times since Mr Farron started volunteering at the school around five years before his hobby became a part-time job.

In 2016, we became the first school in South Ribble to win the RHS's Britain in Bloom North West Environmental Award for Schools - and have now been recognised as one of the best in the region again.

Mr Farron has transformed abandoned parts of Priory into scenic, colourful and educational areas and he has a number of students who help him and want to learn more about plants and the environment. 

There is a herbaceous garden, a Mediterranean garden, a memorial garden and he has big plans for other areas of the school.

“It was a huge honour to win these awards,” said Mr Farron, a former engineer and building manager until his retirement.

“For the Outstanding School award, the judges praised the overall design of the gardens, the variety of plants we have chosen, the longevity of the plants and the way the students respected the environment and the area.

“They were extremely complimentary and, a person high up in the Royal Horticultural Society said if we had entered the gardens at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, we would have won gold.

“It’s also the second time we have been presented with an Environmental Award which again is a huge honour for the school. The judges looked at things we have done for the environment such as building swallows nests around the school and making sure they are in the right place for the swallows.

“For Priory to win two prestigious awards is fantastic. It was a tough competition, against competitors who, shall we say, have better finances than ours so it is real kudos for the school.

“We have been locally recognised, we have been regionally recognised and now my aim is to get Priory nationally recognised, which is what Headteacher Mr Eastham wants to do in all areas.

“It’s incredibly inspirational for me to win these awards. I have been speaking to people who have suggested we enter the Tatton Park show next year and I already have ideas in place to do this.”

Mr Farron will be on the judging panel for Penwortham in Bloom next year so Priory can no longer enter the local competition.


Main image: Mr Farron, Miss Lewis-Lavender, Mr Eastham & Mayor of Sefton, Cllr June Burns