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Lancashire Prison Scoops National Gardening Award

A Preston prison has won the coveted Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Windlesham Trophy Award for the best prison garden in England and Wales.

HMP Wymott, a Category C facility located in the village of Ulnes Walton near Leyland, has a population of 1,126 prisoners, 50 of whom work on the institution’s extensive gardens. HMP Wymott regained the trophy after an eight-year gap; it previously lifted the gardening prize in 2008.

Royal Horticultural Society President Sir Nicholas Bacon presented the trophy, a specially engraved Green Goddess fire engine bell, to HMP Wymott prisoners and staff during a special ceremony at the prison on 14 September.

Lead RHS Judge Robert Haslam, who with fellow RHS judges Fiona Crumley and John Wheatley assessed the five finalists – the others were HMP Albany, HMP Parkhurst, HMP Eastwood Park and HMP Thorn Cross praised HMP Wymott for presenting a scrupulously tidy series of gardens.

He added: “The first impressions were excellent and the standard was maintained throughout the visit. A wide range of plants were used displaying evidence of thoroughly planned designs to create a range of feature gardens, each creating a real impact.

“The prisoners displayed good horticultural awareness and skills in commercial and protected cropping, in addition to the ornamental areas. The ethos and enthusiasm engendered by the land based activities managers was clearly evident with the engagement of prisoners in a creative and constructive manner demonstrating focus, pride and interest in their endeavours.”

HMP Wymott’s Acting Governor Nicki Smith said: “At Wymott, we are delighted to have been named winners of the 2016 Windlesham Trophy competition.

“The award reflects a lot of hard work by our staff and prisoners. We are committed to having a well-presented site, which creates a positive backdrop for all the work we do, and horticulture is a key part of this.

“I am grateful that the judges have acknowledged all the excellent work that has been put in by our gardens team. They deserve this recognition.”

HMP Albany came second in the competition with HMP Parkhurst, HMP Eastwood Park and HMP Thorn Cross completing the line-up.

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