Writtle College student, Fern Champney, has won the Regional Final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition beating five other contestants from across the Eastern region. The event was held on 25 February at the Blacksmiths Cottage Nursery in Norfolk.
Fern, who is a first year BSc (Hons) Horticulture student, will now go forward to the Grand Final on 7 May at the Glasnevin National Botanic Garden, Dublin with seven other finalists from across the UK.
The 22-year-old from Writtle, near Chelmsford, said: “I was quite nervous before the event as I've never been this far in the competition before. I was shocked at how many questions I knew the answers to and I am excited for my first trip to Ireland to compete in the National Final.”
Sandra Nicholson, Senior Lecturer in Horticulture at the College, said: “Fern demonstrated a broad knowledge of horticulture and is now busy reading in preparation for the Grand Final. This is the third year in a row that a Writtle student has won the Regional Final and gone on to represent the Eastern region at the National Final.”
This prestigious annual competition attracts over 2,000 entrants each year, with the winner receiving the Percy Thrower Travel Bursary, worth £2,500, provided by the Shropshire Horticultural Society. There are prizes at every stage of the competition which is run in three phases: Local Heats, Regional Finals and the Grand Final.
Photo: Fern receiving her award from Martin Davey, Branch Chairman of the Eastern branch of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.