South West in Bloom delight for Sidmouth women

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:15 17 June 2010

A PAIR of dedicated Sidmouth women who transformed a piece of land at the entrance of Witheby were singled out as South West in Bloom announced results last week.

A PAIR of dedicated Sidmouth women who transformed a piece of land at the entrance of their road were singled out as South West in Bloom announced results last week.

Witheby residents Kay Marshall and Sylvia Gibbard were awarded a certificate of outstanding achievement and will receive their award at a special Sidmouth in Bloom presentation evening at the Knowle on October 30.

Both women have spent 15 years turning a dense, dark and overgrown half acre at the entrance of Witheby into woodland walks and gardens. The feat is all the more amazing as they say 98 per cent of plants, pots and furniture are recycled and didn't cost a penny.

The pair, who work on the patch all year round, were put forward for the honour after Royal Horticultural Society judges were bowled over by their efforts and hard work when they visited the town in July.

Mrs Gibbard said: "We are delighted and very surprised, its amazing and nice to get some recognition for what has been a second hand, amateurish attempt to tidy up that is just been fun. I hope it's two certificates or we'll have to cut it in half"

"We don't fit in any category and hadn't entered into anything, when we set out it was purely for self-satisfaction, you couldn't even get in here it was so dense."

The duo have taken pride in re-homing unwanted plants, pots and garden furniture and their efforts have proved popular with the spot becoming a hit with tourists.

Mrs Marshall said: "Everything we're given we find a home. We had a holidaying family knock on my door a few days ago and their little girl gave us a fuchsia to plant, it will be here for when she comes back at half term in October, we are going to call it the 'Samantha Flower'."

Both women maintain their greatest satisfaction remains the same.

Mrs Gibbard said: "We just love doing this, the two of us, we've met so many of people from all over the country."

Mrs Marshall said: "We've looked after each other, its been the place where, when you have much on your mind, you can come and clean your thoughts, a mixture of therapy, relaxation and hard work."

Royal Horticultural Society Judge Terry Porter said in July: "What they've done there is absolutely fantastic, it is what Britain in Bloom is all about, community effort, and to do it for nothing is just brilliant.

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