Christopher Parsons (Centre) took 1st place in the regional heat at the Houghall Campus, beating off competition from second place Nathan Ayre (Right) and third place David Kennedy (Left)

Students Take Part in Young Horticulturist of the Year Heats 2013

Tue, 2002-02-19 00:00

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 this prestigious competition saw Houghall students, past and present, compete in a multiple choice quiz to see who would advance to the Northern regional finals.

Former Houghall horticulture student Christopher Parsons, 22, from Richmond, who now works as a private gardener won the competition heat with a total of 33 out of a possible 40; whilst current student Nathan Ayre, 19, took second place after a tie break against David Kennedy, 22, who both finished on 28 points.

David took home a £15 prize with Nathan receiving £25 but it was Christopher who scooped the £40 top prize and a coveted place at the regional final.

Christopher, who came second at the YHOY National Grand Final two years ago, will now travel to Shipley College in North Yorkshire to take on other local heat winners; where they will face a host of horticulture related questions both in a buzzer format and asked to them directly.

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

Dawn said: “Christopher has done fantastic to take this local heat. He left the college two year ago but still champions the work done here to help him get to where he is today and 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 Liverpool University Botanic Gardens on April 13.

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.

The initial heats are taking place across Great Britain and Ireland from early January until late February 2013.