New garden overlooking Olympic Stadium has Norwich link

There will be a strong Norwich link at the London 2012 Olympics next summer, following the completion of the Olympic Park Great British Garden yesterday.

That is because a prime part of the new 250 acres of parklands created from industrial land in east London has been designed by a former Hewett School pupil.

Rachel Read, nee Godding, grew up in Norwich and also attended Fairway School before it became Eaton Primary School.

Now living near Colchester in Essex, Mrs Read, 40, is one of two successful entrants into The Great British Gardening Competition to help design the quarter-of-an-acre riverside garden that overlooks the Olympic Stadium.

The mother-of-two's 'descending spiral' styled design is based on the five Olympic rings and is intended to be part of the lasting legacy left behind by the Olympics in London.

Mrs Read was at the Olympic Park for the completion of a two-year planting programme of the gardens by the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) yesterday

She said: 'I was already doing a garden design course so that's what led to me entering but we used to have a gardening club at the Hewett so I've always had an interest in gardening. To be part of this and know what the gardens are going to look like does make you feel very much part of it all and to see people wandering around them will be great.'

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An occupational therapist by trade, having started her career at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, Mrs Read now also runs a gardening business and achieved a commendation in a Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) certificate in horticulture as well.

The BBC's Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins helped mark the milestone yesterday by lending an expert hand in planting an English oak sapling in the RHS Olympic Park Great British Garden. He was joined by adult category winner, Mrs Read, and child category winner, 12-year-old Hannah Clegg, from Malmesbury in Wiltshire.

They designed the garden with the help of the ODA's landscape and planting team and planted the first tree there in spring 2011.

Mr Collins said: 'What has been achieved on the site in turning it from brown to green is remarkable. Spectators will find it hard not to be blown away next summer, as the effort which has been put into creating a diverse and colourful park has really paid off.'

ODA Chairman, John Armitt, added: 'It was a fitting end to the parklands programme that Hannah and Rachel could put the last plant into place.

'Next summer, the results will be plain to see as visitors can enjoy lush green lawns, rows of trees and a rainbow of flowers from across the world.'

Look out for the next edition of London Calling, a free monthly guide to the games, which will appear in the Evening News on Tuesday, November 29. To see previous Olympic-related stories log on to and click on the London Calling logo.

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