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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Volunteers spruce up Cumbrian town ahead of festival

A team of volunteers have been putting their skills to use by sprucing up Whitehaven for its first home and gardening show.

Seed planting photo
Sarah Gibson, second left, and students from Stay West Project in St Nicholas Church

Celebrities and expert guests will take over the town today and tomorrow and in preparation for their arrival, pupils from the Stay West project, based at Lakes College Lillyhall, have been tidying up the gardens of St Nicholas’ Centre.

They have spent three days in the grounds this week, weeding and planting new flowers and plants which have been donated by Bloomfield Nurseries at Lowca.

Project leader Sarah Gibson said: “Stay West is a work placement programme for adults with learning disabilities who are usually out in different places of work.

“When we were invited to come and tidy up the gardens we thought it would be a great idea.

“We have had a lot of positive comments from people about the work we’ve done.”

Michael Shepherd has been helping in the gardens. The 27-year-old said: “We have been clearing the gardens and I’ve really enjoyed it – it’s been lovely.”

The Western Lakes Home and Garden Show will see a range of celebrities visit town to meet fans, share tips and give demonstrations.

Expert guests will perform a total of 32 shows in the events taking place on the harbourside and in St Nicholas’ Gardens.

They include wine connoisseur Oz Clarke; Countryfile presenter James Wong; gardeners and TV presenters Toby Buckland and Charlie Dimmock; Anna Ryder-Richardson and Linda Barker, of Changing Rooms fame; Britain’s Best Bakery’s Peter Sidwell;celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, and former Coronation Street star turned award-winning cheese-maker Sean Wilson.

The iconic BBC Radio 4 show Gardeners’ Question Time, chaired by Eric Robson featuring expert panellists Bob Flowerdew, Christine Walkden and Matthew Wilson, will be recorded live on Whitehaven harbour today at 1pm.

In addition, antiques expert Philip Serrell, of Bargain Hunt and Flog It! fame, will be joined in town by fellow auctioneers and valuers Hugh Gregory, Steve Lee, Bill Waters and Steve Parkinson to try to uncover a priceless heirloom.

There will be more than 100 stalls from local and national stores, while other attractions include a ‘smelly science’ event from the National Nuclear Laboratory, a continental market, street theatre and a CFM stage.

Gerard Richardson, of event organisers Whitehaven Festival Company, said: “Home and garden shows have been a growing success in the UK and we think Whitehaven is the natural place to host one.

“In fact, the reputation the town now has for putting on a good show was what made it so easy to get artists to want to come along to this event.”

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