Swaffham residents make their secret garden bloom

Pensioners at a Suffield Court in Swaffham have come together to create their own secret garden. Pic

Pensioners at a Suffield Court in Swaffham have come together to create their own secret garden. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A group of older people were left disappointed when judges of a horticultural competition ran out of time to view their secret garden – but they have been assured their creation will still be taken into consideration.

Those living at Suffield Court in Swaffham had worked tirelessly to prune, plant and pot in their garden, which is tucked away in the centre of the complex, to create a bright bloom of colour.

They had entered their project into this year's Swaffham in Bloom, but judges were unable to view the sheltered housing scheme's garden after they got distracted by a nearby display.

Organisers have apologised to the Suffield Court residents and have said their garden will still be considered in the annual competition.

Scheme manager Pam Gayfer said: 'The residents have taken over the garden and it looks absolutely beautiful. We call it their secret garden as it is hidden away within the complex and unless you come into the scheme, you can't see it.

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'It's amazing. They have worked together as a community, had exercise and made themselves feel valued and appreciated.

'Swaffham in Bloom is all they've talked about all year, saying how the judges were going to come to see them, so when they didn't come, they were really disappointed.'

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The group is made up of about half a dozen pensioners, aged about 70 or 75, who do the work, with others contributing by donating plants and seeds and holding cake sales to raise funds.

Dennis Tallon, chairman of the Iceni Partnership, which runs the Swaffham in Bloom initiative, said: 'We appreciate they have put a lot of work in and have apologised to the residents.

'On their way to Suffield Court, the judges spotted a garden in Theatre Street and asked to stop to look at it. They spent more time there than they should've done and, unfortunately, were unable to make it to Suffield Court.

'We have already apologised to the residents that they didn't get to see it and it isn't all lost.

'We have to produce a brochure as part of our submission and everything Suffield Court has done has been taken into account for the judgement and is an integral part of that.'

Swaffham in Bloom, led by the Iceni Partnership, celebrated success at last year's Anglia in Bloom awards.

Swaffham Town Council was nominated for an award in the environmental quality category for its work at Campingland.

Swaffham, as a town, was awarded the silver gilt, the highest award it has achieved in the years it has entered.

Have you got a Swaffham story for our readers? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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