Over 70 students with special educational needs from colleges across Sussex and Kent visited the South of England Showground on Wednesday, March 12 to put the skills learnt at their colleges and schools to the test at the annual Jim Green Memorial Competition.
Now in its 16th year, the competition held in memory of a former Chairman and founding Council Member of the South of England Agricultural Society, Jim Green, aims to encourage teamwork and build confidence. It offers the students a wonderful opportunity to compete in a range of creative and technical challenges in a location away from their familiar college campus.
The event included both prepared and on-the-day tasks such as making a scarecrow, growing spring bulbs, removing old plant material and preparing a spring flower bed, identifying a range of woodland & hedgerow trees and plants, making a sculpture, creating a collage depicting an allotment, making a wind chime using hand tools and baking a Bara Brith (a traditional tea bread).
Said Des Lambert, Principal at Plumpton Colllege near Lewes, “It’s a fantastic day! We have entered the competition every year since it started, as we know how much the students benefit from the experience. We only have a team of six here today but there are many other students back at the college who have been involved in the planning and making of certain items. I am so proud of all the students in coping with the challenge and excitement of having to perform under pressure on the day – it’s a tremendous team effort!”
Six teams of students took part in the competition, all demonstrating great enthusiasm and dedication. But it was Plumpton College who raised the most points and won three out of the nine categories to return home victorious with the coveted first prize. Other category winners were East Surrey College in Redhill, Manor Green College (Team 2) in Crawley, Young Epilepsy in Lingfield and Hadlow College in Tonbridge, Kent. All the students who took part were presented with certificates.
Sarah Peay, daughter of Jim Green and one of the key organisers, said: “This motivating, interactive competition is a great example of the Society’s charitable and educational aims and we are always so impressed with the commitment from the students and superb staff and their achievements in a wide variety of skills that we see every year.” She also thanked sponsors Sussex Masonic Charities, Mrs E C Hayward, Mr Kevin Booth, The Golden Lions Children’s Trust and Camelia Botnar Foundation as well as the many volunteers for their contribution to a very successful day.
The Society’s President, Lord Egremont presented the participation certificates and prize cards and Mrs Ann Green, Jim’s widow, presented the memorial rose bowl to the winning team. Many of the items made by the students will be on display at the forthcoming South of England Show on Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June 2014.
Report and picture contributed by Natural PR.