Green-fingered kids are inspired by top television gardener

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CHILDREN got their hands dirty as part of a project working alongside Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.

Pupils at Highbury Primary School in Cosham were treated to a visit by the TV gardener for the day yesterday.

VISIT Chris Collins with pupil pictured  Ellie May McGee, 9. Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131758-1)

VISIT Chris Collins with pupil pictured Ellie May McGee, 9. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131758-1)

The visit came after pupil Ellie May McGee won the prize in a school meal competition.

The council’s school meals provider ISS Education ran a Green Fingers event to encourage children to grow vegetables.

Children from all year groups spent time planting flowers and vegetables. To mark the occasion, a tree was planted and a commemorative plaque was unveiled.

Speaking at the school, Chris said: ‘Green Fingers is encouraging kids to grow and eat fresh vegetables here in the canteen.

‘I’m having a great time. It’s brilliant. One thing that is amazing is I’ve been doing this for about nine years and I’ve yet to have a kid who doesn’t enjoy it.

‘So that says a lot about gardening and this reflects that.

‘They have all got stuck in. They have all got their hands dirty and they’ve all planted.

‘They enjoyed it. Kids do – we’re all gardeners at heart.

‘When you’re out with kids and you do some gardening with them you can see it’s in their DNA and that’s what I’m seeing today.’

The children at the school said they enjoyed the day.

Year 6 pupil Chloe Freshney, 11, said: ‘It’s fun because there are lots of different groups rotated around and lots of different things to do.

‘Where we have Chris coming in it’s easier for us because we have somebody who knows what he’s doing.’

Rhys Lloyd, 10, also in Year 6, added: ‘It’s fun because for years it’s just been weeds and it’s good to make it into a flowerbed.

‘It’s quite exciting because he knows what he’s doing and he can help us.’

Even when the heavens opened the children carried on with their gardening.

Headteacher Sarah Sadler said: ‘They are loving it. They learn how to grow their own food which they can then eat.

‘It’s exciting for me because I used to watch Blue Peter as a child.

‘Some of them watch Blue Peter still. They are very excited about having a celebrity here.

‘He’s a good teacher. He is really passionate about teaching children to grow their own food.’