Victorious Aimee, 11, outgrows the adults

Not since Helen Mirren's Chris Harper won the trophy for the best sponge cake in the film of Calendar Girls has there been such an upset at a village show.

Not since Helen Mirren's Chris Harper won the trophy for the best sponge cake in the film Calendar Girls has there been such an upset at a village show.

Her jam was perfectly set, her flowers flawless, her tomatoes juicy - and the winner of the shield for most points in show was aged just 11.

Aimee Hayward-Rutter beat off all the adults at the annual garden and produce show in Wenhaston, near Halesworth, and not surprisingly won a second trophy for most points by a young member.

And while the famous Victoria sponge in Calendar Girls came from Marks and Spencer, Aimee's efforts were her own. She has been gardening with her father, Stuart, since she was a toddler, but these days she gets her own section of the garden and greenhouse.

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Everything she grows is organic - so her crisp cucumbers and succulent sweetcorn are grown without the use of pesticides.

Not content with having the talent of a young Charlie Dimmock, there is a touch of the Delia Smith about her as well. Instead of spending Saturday mornings watching television, she will often get up to bake a cake or some buns. Her butterfly cakes, strawberry jam and scones all took home prizes at the show. In all she won five first prizes, five seconds, two thirds and one highly commended.

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Stuart, who works for a local school, said: “I was hoping she would do well, but there was a lot of competition. Wenhaston is a strong gardening club and there were about 50 people who entered. I thought she might get the junior trophy but I never imagined she would get the overall shield.

“I am immensely proud of her. She has done it all herself. To do what she has done is brilliant. I am thrilled.

“She has been gardening with me ever since she could walk, and now she runs the vegetable patch herself. She is a grafter.”

Her mother, Jackie, is equally proud of her, although she leaves the gardening to her husband and daughter.

The Halesworth Middle School pupil, who hopes to have a career in horticulture, said: “I enjoy gardening as a hobby - I got it from my dad who loves gardening. I enjoy everything about it, especially when you can harvest it and eat it afterwards.”

Ric Staines, president of Wenhaston Gardeners' Club, which organised the show, said: “I am really excited to see a youngster do so well. It is absolutely brilliant. I hope it will be good for encouraging more younger people to take part in gardening.

“To find younger members getting involved in a village show is quite unusual, although I know the club has been doing work with local schools. I can't remember a youngster winning the shield for the most points before. It tends to be the same few people every year.”

cOMMENT - Page 32

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