School gardener who set up new allotment nominated for Merton Civic Award (From This Is Local London)
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Wimbledon Chase Primary School gardener who set up new allotment nominated for Merton Civic Award
Tony Cullen previously worked for Thales avionics company in Raynes Park before he took early retirement when the company relocated in October 2010 and decided to find volunteering work which involved gardening.
He was given the chance to run Wimbledon Chase's Gardening Club and this year Mr Cullen helped the group develop an allotment where children learn about growing fruits and vegetables as part of the curriculum.
Gardening has always been part of his family. Mr Cullen's brother is a gardener, and his father was a horticulturalist.
He said: "I kept my love of gardening and as a child my father used to take part in shows. It is important for children who do not have a chance to get involved in gardening, to have the opportunity."
Councillor Simon Withey, governor at Wimbledon Chase, said Mr Cullen is dedicated to the children and the school, where the pupils have benefitted enormously from his work.
The school, of Merton Hall Road, Wimbledon, came joint first place in the Merton in Bloom awards for the best school wildlife garden.
Mr Cullen said: "I am pleased that the pupils’ hard work has been recognised.
"It is really pleasing to see so many children take an interest in gardening and gaining the experience and enthusiasm for gardening that they can take with them as they grow up."
They also won the best Olympic Display in the Daily Mirror Top of the Plots Competition.
Mr Cullen encouraged the pupils, parents and teachers to plant a meadow using the same seeds as for the Olympics, creating a wildlife garden with wooden letters spelling out the word RUN.
He said: "Apart from the children, it is great to get the community involved and for other people to come in and help out, particularly community work days."
Find out more about the Merton Civic Awards and how you can nominate someone who has made an impact on our community.
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