Northumberland College student Lucy Whitehead has reached the Grand Final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.
Lucy, who is working as a Horticulture and Landscape Apprentice with England Heritage while studying at the college’s Kirkley Hall Campus, won the Northern Regionals at RHS Harlow Carr earlier this year where she scored the highest points in the 10-round contest which covered a wide range of horticultural topics.
The 24-year-old from Newcastle then travelled to the University of Warick in June to compete against seven other finalists from across the UK and Ireland.
After reaching the Grand Final, Lucy said: “‘It was such a great experience. I was up against some strong competitors, so I’m really excited about it and going through to the national finals too.
“In the future, I am excited to offer my skills in the restoration and maintenance of historic gardens, working across heritage sites, private estates and significant landscapes applying first-class horticultural skills, artistry and design.
“I believe making it to this stage of the competition only a year after the commencement of my horticultural career is a sign of great success to come.”
The winner of the competition gained the prestigious title of ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year’ and will receive a £2,500 travel bursary provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society and the Percy Thrower Trust, to fund a horticultural trip anywhere in the world. Previous winners have visited Borneo, China, New Zealand, South Africa, the Himalayas, and the Galapagos Islands to name a few.
Each of the finalists is also awarded membership to the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and PlantNetwork.
Angela Hallaway, Apprenticeships Work Based Learning Manager, add: “Lucy has worked extremely hard on the Horticulture Apprenticeship Standard where she has developed a high standard of knowledge and skills.
“We are proud of her achievement of winning the northern region Young Horticulturist of the Year and we would like to wish her the very best of luck in the finals.”
Kristopher Harper, Competition Vice-Chair, said: “It was very pleasing to have so many competitors take part in the competition this year. Every Regional was a closely contested competition and I am very much looking forward to meeting the eight finalists at the Grand Final in May.”
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