Friends scoop top prize in garden comp

THIS pair of have-a-go garden heroes are the talk of their road today after they romped to victory in a friendly competition amongst neighbours.

THIS pair of have-a-go garden heroes are the talk of their road today after they romped to victory in a friendly competition amongst neighbours.

After a second place in the inaugural London Road in Bloom contest last year, Alfie Smith and Tony Earrey pulled out all stops to make sure this year they took top prize.

And Ipswich's deputy mayor Inga Lockington was in no doubt that the good mates had done enough to be crowned gardeners of the year for the road when she judged the competition on the weekend.

Retiree Mr Smith, 63, said: “I was over the moon to win it.”

And Mr Earrey, a 54-year-old tarmac layer, said: “Alfie kept worrying saying 'I hope we do win it' but I just kept saying 'don't worry, we'll do it'.”

Now their display outside the front of the Riverview Housing property they live in is officially the prettiest garden in the street.

Most Read

Together they created a colourful display of hanging baskets and flower beds - with the centrepiece a reclaimed wooden boat which had seen better days before it was transformed into a garden feature.

Now the garden boasts a range of flowering plants, including petunias, Busy Lizzies, marigolds, begonias and geraniums.

Today Mr Smith and Mr Earrey revealed much of their motivation for the garden came from Mr Earrey's former partner Pat Bennett, a cancer sufferer who died from pneumonia in September last year.

Mr Earrey said: “Pat loved plants. She'd have been proud of what we've done. We'll do a better one next year for her.”

And Mr Smith said: “I thought I'd get the boat for Pat. She always loved a garden and I thought I'd make a little seabed under the boat as a special garden for her.”

And they have commended the London Road Neighbourhood Watch group for coming up with the idea for London Road in Bloom as a way to rebuild community spirit after the murder of five Ipswich sex workers by serial killer Steve Wright, who lived only a few doors away from them.

“It's a good idea,” Mr Smith said.

“A lot of people are coming together now.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter