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Summer bloom winners announced

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Published by James Allan for Salix Homes in Housing and also in Communities, Environment

Award winning gardener David Oldroyd Award winning gardener David Oldroyd

An award-winning gardener who took up the hobby following the death of his baby son has picked up another accolade for his vegetable patch.

David Oldroyd, 34, has been crowned one of the winners of the Salix Homes Summer Bloom gardening competition beating off stiff opposition from more than 100 entrants.

Green-fingered David scooped first prize in the Best Vegetable Garden category for the second year running after wowing judges with his impressive vegetable patch at his home in Walsall Street, Charlestown, Salford.

David only took up gardening two years ago as a way to cope with the tragic death of his son Thomas Lee, who sadly died in 2011 aged just 20 months old.

David said: “Thomas Lee was born with Down’s Syndrome and a hole in his heart and he suffered a stroke after his first birthday.

“After he died I volunteered to look after the garden at the Ascension Church in Broughton. The gardening really saw me through some dark times– I was able to chill out in the garden and it really helped me cope.”

David is now the chairman of the Grow in Brought’on community garden initiative and also volunteers at the Biospheric Project, which is an urban farm based on the banks of the River Irwell. Last year he also won the Green Star Award in the Salix Stars Awards, which is organised by housing provider Salix Homes to honour those who are making a difference in their community.

David added: “Before all this, all I used to do in the garden was cut the grass for my mum and dad so I’ve come a long way since then. I can’t imagine not gardening now.”

David was one of several winners of this year’s Summer Bloom competition which is organised by Salix Homes to recognise those green-fingered folk who are helping to keep our communities bright and beautiful.

Other winners included Devine Close in Broughton who won the Best Communal Garden and Ellen Hurst in Ordsall who won the Most Impressive Garden.

The competition was open to people living across Central Salford and each neighbourhood was judged separately for each category with a total of £1,500 worth of vouchers handed out to the winners.

Sue Sutton, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: “Every year we are so impressed by the standard of entries and our judges always have a tough job picking the winners.

“We were really moved by David’s story and it just goes to show how therapeutic and beneficial gardening can be to your wellbeing. It’s wonderful to see just how much pride people do take in their gardens and how determined they are to make their communities better places to live.

"Congratulations to all of the winners and of course to everyone who entered. We are so proud of each and every one of our tenants who put so much time and effort into making sure our neighbourhoods looks bright and beautiful for the benefit of the whole community."

For the full list of winners go to www.salixhomes.org/bloomwinners14

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