Sep 28, 2011

Garden enthusiasts from across Lancashire and Yorkshire flocked to Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form on Friday 16th September to support a fundraising event with a green-fingered twist; ‘An Evening with Monty Don’.

monty don

Taking effect for this academic year, the Government abolished the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which previously supported students who came from a household whose join income was below £21,000. In order to continue to offer financial support to its students, Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form has held a special charity evening event with celebrity horticulturalist and BBC Gardener’s World Presenter, Monty Don.

Monty generously agreed to waive half of his usual fees in order to appear at the event, which saw him deliver a presentation about gardening and take part in a question and answer session with the eager audience. Monty gave advice about pruning, harvesting fruit and vegetables and how to tackle various lawn problems. Engaging with the crowd, and with a mixture of amusing anecdotes, Monty was well received by the audience. After the presentation, visitors could also buy Monty’s book ‘The Great Gardens of Italy’, and have it signed by the author himself.

During the event, visitors could also browse a special garden and lifestyle themed exhibition, which included stalls from a number of local businesses. Exhibiting on the evening were Banner Bags, Barnes of Barrowford, Burnley Crop Share, Coco&me, Daisy Chain, Farmer’s Wife Homemade Preserves, Grounded, Handford Design, Horticultural Therapist Donna Rowe-Green, Incredible Edible Todmorden, Julie Kearney Cards and Crafts, Lanlee Supplies, Little Valley Brewery, Lorraine Dickinson of Crispy Couture, Marsh Walling, Oakmount Mill, Park Farm Shop and Tearooms, Pendle Heritage Centre, Queen Street Mill, Samantha Jewellery from Bebeady, Botanical Artist Susan Christopher-Coulson, The Alma Inn, The Tempest Arms, Towneley Garden Centre and Woodside Photography and Handmade Crafts.

Director of Quality and Head of Division Skills for Life Tracey Baron whose students will benefit from the funds raised at the event said, “The initial idea for the event was conceived by Mary Ellis, the College’s horticulture technician, who arranged for Monty Don to take part in College’s efforts to raise funds to support the student bursary scheme and we are extremely grateful to Monty for agreeing to visit our event, which is relatively low-key compared to the celebrity circles he usually moves in! He was a huge hit with the audiences, who were eager to question him on all manner of gardening relating problems. We were thrilled with the response the event received from the general public and delighted that so many local businesses chose to support the event by taking part in our trade exhibition.