Three Writtle College Horticulture students have been given the opportunity of a lifetime working with celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh on his top TV shows!
Rosie Kippen and Janet Atkinson have been employed as runners on Alan’s shows, Love Your Garden and Britain’s Best Gardens, while Catherine Fairhall-Lewis is working as a researcher on Love Your Garden.
The students will be involved in all aspects of the shows, from building gardens within a matter of days on location – sometimes through the night - sourcing plants and coming up with unusual ideas that people can replicate at home.
Alan Titchmarsh MBE, who has been Writtle College patron for the last 13 years and comes to the College graduation ceremonies every year, said: “Writtle is one of the best horticultural colleges in the country and, as patron, I’m delighted to be giving some of the students a chance to experience the exciting world of TV gardening.”
Rosie, 21, from Wivenhoe, has also just won the regional final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition and will go to the Grand Final of the national competition on 10 May.
The second year BSc (Hons) Horticulture student said: “It’s been a fantastic experience so far. This is an area of horticulture I've always had an interest in, but I never imagined I'd ever get the chance to do it.”
Janet, from Halstead, a Higher Education Associate Student in Horticulture, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to use my horticultural skills and knowledge in a whole new aspect of gardening that I never thought I would be part of. By working for Britain’s Best Gardens, it’s great to be able to show what an imaginative and passionate nation of gardeners we are.”
Catherine, from Maldon, who is in her third year of a BSc (Hons) Horticulture, said: “This is a great opportunity and I am really enjoying working with the Love Your Garden team.
“My background was as a TV producer/journalist with the BBC - BBC Breakfast - which I left to study Horticulture at Writtle, so I am really pleased to be combining the two areas in this contract.”
The job offers came after the production company behind the shows, Spun Gold TV, approached the College because of its 120-year history of delivering Horticulture courses and alumni who are leaders in the horticultural industry. They were looking for horticulture students with the plant knowledge, imagination, enthusiasm and sheer brawn to apply for positions as horticultural runners or researchers.
Matt Young, Executive Producer for Spun Gold TV, said: “As one of the biggest producers of gardening on TV, Spun Gold is committed to putting something back into the horticultural industry and now is a great time for students to consider a career in TV. Both Love Your Garden and Britain’s Best Gardens are major ITV primetime series and we welcome Rosie, Janet and Catherine into our brilliant team!”
Sandra Nicholson, Senior Horticultural Lecturer at the College, said: “These are demanding positions that will hugely benefit the students, giving them television experience, expanding their horticultural knowledge and giving them general work skills that are valuable in any job, such as organisational skills, creative thinking and not to mention stamina! It will be fantastic for these students’ CVs and we are very proud that Writtle College has helped give them the first step into the horticultural media – which, I am sure, is a dream job for many horticulture students!”