BBC Blue Peter gardener inspires Norwich youngsters ahead of the Olympics

Youngsters were yesterday urged to go green for gold as a TV gardener paid a visit to their school.

Blue Peter's gardener Chris Collins visited four schools in Norwich to help launch Norfolk project Going Green for Gold.

The project, which has just been awarded the prestigious Inspire Mark of the London 2012 and Olympic and Paralympic Games, works with young people, schools and youth support organisations across the county.

As part of his visit, the BBC gardener visited Parkside School in College Road, Cavell Primary School in Lakenham, Tuckswood Primary School and the Hewett School.

Mr Collins, who has just reconstructed the Blue Peter garden at the new BBC studios in Manchester, said: 'We are all gardeners at heart and I am a great believer of finding out about what kids want to do in the garden and what they enjoy.

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'I know how much fun gardening is and it's good for your wellbeing, for you spiritually and it includes a bit of a maths because you are measuring things, art because you are drawing designs, teamwork, sciences, a lot of curriculum activities.'

At Parkside School, a school for children with learning difficulties and complex needs, Mr Collins joined in with the assembly and saw the first stages of the school's memorial garden, which is being created in memory of two pupils, Shannon Appleton and Richard Key.

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Teaching assistant Alastair Ranns, who came up with the idea for the memorial garden, known as the Friendship Garden, said: 'It's really exciting for the children to meet Chris because it gives them an understanding that you can get jobs in life by doing things with your hands.'

Elsewhere, Mr Collins enjoyed lunch at Cavell Primary School which was cooked using vegetables from the Duckett Close school's allotment.

He also got to see a bird hide at Tuckswood Primary School.

The day ended at the Hewett School, where Joseph Ballard, London 2012 Inspire programmer for the east of England, presented the Going Green for Gold project with the Inspire award for the Olympic themes of sustainability and education.

Bernard Godding, chairman of the Educational Centres Association in Norwich and who is behind the project, said: 'This is the Olympic year and it gives us a fantastic opportunity for Norfolk to express itself as a green county and a place where sustainability is really on the map.'

Inspire Mark awards recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Have you got an Olympics story for the Evening News? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

Don't miss the latest edition of our Olympics pull-out London Calling next Tuesday.

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