First-time growers scoop top Ottery allotment prize

A couple’s allotment has gone from overgrown to overjoyed in a year after they picked up an award in their first year of growing.

Barrie and Betty Bull were presented with the ‘Bob Johnson Trophy’ by Rita Johnson last weekend for their patch, despite it only being their first year.

Carl Richmond, chairman of the Ottery St Mary allotments, said it was a remarkable achievement.

He said their plot was a real mess when they took it over, and had to work really hard to put it back in order.

He added: “It had got very overgrown, to the point where other people didn’t want it, but they decided to take it on.”

The competition was judged by Ottery postman Leas Peake, a keen gardener, who looked for variety, tidiness and a lack of weeds, and everything growing well.

The trophy is dedicated to Bob Johnson, who for many years ran the allotments single-handedly, and had a great fondness for growing.

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He passed away several years ago but his widow Rita was delighted to be able to present the trophy which bears his name to Mr and Mrs Bull.

Carl said there has been a sharp rise in interest at the allotment in the 10 years he has been growing, to the point were there is now a considerable waiting list for the 90 or so plots where once there many left unused.

He said there were lots of different people using the facility and in the last few years he has seen an improvement overall in the standard of allotment care, making the Bull’s win all the more impressive.