TV gardener Alan helps Jill Dando garden expand across schools

By Jill Dando News Centre

Jill Dando’s Garden is exploding in size right across Somerset – helped by Alan Titchmarsh who helped make the original one 19 years ago.

Some 49 apple trees will now be planted in primary schools across Weston, Worle and beyond with more than 10,000 children involved, in memory to the TV star.

This week, Jill’s brother Nigel Dando helped plant the first trees at St Anne’s Church Academy in West Wick, watched on by 30 student Jill Dando News Centre reporters aged 9 to 17 from schools in The Priory Learning Trust.

Town Mayor and Mayoress Mark and Estelle Canniford were also present along with local charities and Percy PLT, the Trust’s seven foot hedgehog mascot.

In an inspirational ‘good news and charity celebration’ ceremony at St Anne’s, the Jill Dando reporters also hosted a question and answer session with Nigel and guest journalists and editors answering questions.

Sanders Garden Centre are donating the trees while TV Gardener Alan Titchmarsh is helping green-fingered students with advice on how to plant them and see them flourish.

Alan helped create Jill’s Garden in Grove Park in Weston Town Centre in 2000, a year after her death.

Nigel Dando said: “What a brilliant initiative to promote the work of the Trust and to remember Jill at the same time. It’s great to have Alan on board, too, with his support and advice on how to produce the perfect crop.”

Alan advised the children to grow a Discovery apple.

Alan said: “It is a nice rosy apple. It crops generously and ripens ready to eat as early as August without being kept in store.”

WCSA Jill Centre News Centre student editor Olivia Finch, who hosted the question time session, said: “We are so grateful to Mr Titchmarsh for his help.”

St Anne’s Headteacher Lisa Dadds said: “There has been huge enthusiasm for this expansion of Jill Dando’s Garden and we cannot wait for the apple trees to start producing fruit.”