East Durham College Horticulture Assessor, Alan McManus, Competition winner Tomas Michael Pearson, third placed Connie Foster, second placed Lee Jordan and over 30s category winner Andrew Gavin MacDonald.

Students Take Part in Young Horticulturist of the Year Heats 2015

East Durham College’s Houghall Campus today hosted the local heats of The Institute of Horticulture’s Young Horticulturist of the Year (YHOY) competition.

This first round of the prestigious national competition saw Houghall students, past and present, compete in a multiple choice quiz to see who would advance to the Northern England regional finals.

Last year former Houghall student Chris Parsons went all the way in the competition winning the prestigious national title.

And this year 18 year-old Tomas Michael Pearson will be looking to follow in his footsteps after winning the local heat.

Tomas, who is in a level 2 work based diploma at the College, with a placement at Black Rose Landscape in Ferryhill came first in the competition by just one point with 23 points to second place lee Jordan and third place Connie Foster who finished with 22 points.

Tomas will now travel to Kirkley Hall in Northumberland on 14th March to take on other local heat winners; where they will face a host of horticulture-related questions both in a buzzer format and asked one-to-one Mastermind style.

Dawn James, curriculum leader for Arboriculture and Horticulture at East Durham College was happy to see Tomas take the top prize and hopes he can advance further in the competition.

Dawn said: “Tomas has done fantastic to take this local heat today. He has been doing really well on his course at the College and his placement and he has shown today that he really knows his stuff.

“We hope he can continue to fly the flag for the College in the rest of the competition.”

The winner from the next stage will then take on seven other regional heat winners in the grand final at Barrington Court in Somerset on 9th May.

The Institute of Horticulture Young Horticulturist of the Year competition, open to young people under the age of 30, is forecast to be the biggest ever, with nearly 2,000 young horticulturists, who are either studying horticulture or working in the industry, taking part.

Prizes valued at more than £10,000 are on offer including the coveted Percy Thrower Travel Bursary of £2000, which is sponsored by the Shropshire Horticultural Society that is awarded for first place.

The initial heats are taking place across Great Britain and Ireland from early January until late February 2015.