Hailsham woman wins gold at Chelsea

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For some its a hobby but for others gardening is a competitive pastime that inspires patriotic pride and plenty of passion.

This year a Hailsham woman has put her passion into practice once again to achieve a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Peter and Penny Riley, who live in Hailsham, won the medal for their garden display showcasing the best of British produce.

The couple’s entry was sponsored by Waitrose and the National Farmer Union, promoting United Kingdom horticulture.

Mrs Riley is the daughter of a grower and was inspired in her passion for produce from her time on a Kent farm.

The former florist said: “It’s just showing people the best of British and explain what we have is just taken from the fields and brought to Chelsea to exhibit.

“I’ve actually done 33 Chelseas but it can be a worry still. Some plants were reluctant to flower so it’s been a hard year for us.

“It’s been cold and a very late spring and it’s supposed to be coming into summer and the temperature is quite low.

“I think our success is because we’ve been showing beautiful British produce and we have a great team and the way things are presented.

“I’ve been doing shows because I was born into the industry and seeing the competitiveness of the Danish and growers from other countries.

“I became quite patriotic and felt quite strongly about how the rural economy relies on the Great British growers supplying the likes of Waitrose and we want to get the public into the way of thinking of buying British.

“The show is amazing. It’s very cold but everybody is enthusiastic.”