Army veteran's green fingers wow judges at Chelsea Flower Show

AN ARMY veteran who created a garden telling the story of people affected by their military service has scooped two awards at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 11:09 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:48 am
Don Hodgson, 58 from Lee-on-the-Solent. Don has scooped two awards at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show for his garden, The Force for Good - a collaborative project between military veterans and Sparsholt College. Picture: Supplied

58-year-old Don Hodgson, from Lee-on-the-Solent, has received high praise from the judges for his garden entry, The Force for Good.

The garden was designed and created by military veterans and Sparsholt College to tell the story of how gardening can help injured British Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families.

The garden’s design was inspired by conversations between students and the veterans, and has been awarded both a Gold medal and the award for Best Discovery Exhibit.

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The Force for Good garden at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show. Picture: Stewart Turkington

Don, who reached the rank of Major during his time in the forces, suffers from mobility issues after a serious stroke and car accident.

He began studying horticulture with Help For Heroes two years ago.

He said: ‘Working on this project has been an amazing opportunity, I have some left-handed weakness and balance issues which make it difficult for me to bend right over but this something I can take my time to enjoy without being overly strenuous.

‘Getting a Gold medal and Best in Section is great.’

Lecturer Chris Bird from Sparsholt College said: ‘It is always an honour to exhibit at RHS Chelsea and this year feels particularly meaningful given the show’s theme of health, wellbeing and happiness and the powerful story it has enabled us to tell in collaboration with our partner Help for Heroes.

‘Not only have our students won another Gold medal at the world’s most famous flower show but they have had the privilege of working alongside military veterans who have been inspiring, motivating and made an invaluable contribution to this year’s garden.’