A woman who swapped sunny Greece for even sunnier East Rainton has won first prize in our annual gardening competition.
Leda Gibbins was the overwhelming choice of the judges deciding who should win the DAMHA 2018 Pot Plant Competition.
The 58-year-old, who originally hails from Athens but now lives with her Hendon-born husband Jim in a DAMHA bungalow in East Rainton, was chosen for her outstanding display of flowers, which include petunias, sweet peas, begonias, dahlias, fuschias, sunflowers and much more.
It has been a real labour of love for Leda, who receives £50 cash for winning the competition.
She says: “I thought it would nice just to be shortlisted, so to discover I had won the whole competition was an amazing feeling.
“I started planning the garden early this year and this involved buying most of my flowers from Amazon.
“The fantastic weather we had over the summer really helped, in fact it was almost like being back in Athens, although it has also meant I had to do lots of watering so the flowers didn’t dry out.
“On average I spend around 4 to 5 hours each week in the garden either planting, watering or maintaining the flowers. It’s become a lovely hobby.”
Judges Gordon Parkin, Chairman of DAMHA, and Steve Fergus, Vice-Chairman, were both very impressed with Leda’s efforts.
Gordon said: “The standard of entries goes up each year and it’s always difficult to choose a winner, but Leda’s garden was outstanding and she is a very deserving winner.
“Ideally we would give everyone who entered a prize, but we would like to congratulate those who did for their efforts.
“It’s lovely to see the lengths people go to ensure their homes are nice both inside and out.”
Second prize went to Elija and Auriol Taylorson, of Horden, and third prize was awarded to John and Lesley Middleton, of Sherburn Village.
The judges would also like to commend the schemes at Hopper Street, Dairy Lane and Ferryhill which had put together wonderful displays across the whole groups of homes.