Blind gardeners celebrated

The Blind Gardener of the Year Awards took place in the capital this week, with the UKs top visually impaired horticulturists being rewarded for their work throughout the year.

The event was set up by national charity Thrive, which seeks to enrich the lives of people with disabilities.

It was launched in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and has become an annual event.

The competition welcomes entries from blind and partially sighted people with a love for working in the garden or greenhouse.

This years theme was focussed on healthy living through sustainable gardening and RNIB chief executive Lesley-Anne Alexander praised the entrants and winners for their achievements.

"We were so impressed with how the winners dealt with the challenges they face, their achievements and their passion for gardening," she said.

First prize went to 82-year-old Jean Harrington, whose interest in vegetable growing, composting, recycling and wildlife impressed the judges.

A blind family was recently given a "sensory-garden" makeover after kind-hearted judges in a local competition decided they needed a hand.