Friday, 04 December 2020

Teenage boys join the Gardening Buddies

Teenage boys join the Gardening Buddies

THREE teenagers are helping to clean up Henley’s green spaces as part of their qualification for the silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, writes Connor McLouhglin.

Ciaran Gilder, 15, and 14-year-olds Ted Aplin and Miles Edwards have joined the Gardening Buddies, a volunteer gardening group.

They have been helping to clear paths and weed and edge flower beds at Mill Meadows under the guidance of Henley Town Council’s park services staff.

The boys must complete one hour of volunteer work every week for six months in order to qualify for the award, which they are taking at the Eyot Centre, off Wargrave Road.

The idea came from Miles’s grandmother Joan Edwards, from Shiplake, who is one of the buddies. The boys have been given their own blue buddies T-shirts to wear when they are working.

Former town mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin, who founded the group, said: “It’s always lovely to have extra pairs of hands, especially in the winter, and it’s nice for them to come along and be part of the town.

“They have been able to do jobs that park services are not able to do all the time.”

Ted, who lives in Henley and attends Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning, said they were enjoying the work.

“It’s more interesting and more fun then I had anticipated,” he said. “The time goes really quickly when we’re working.” Miles, from Shiplake, said: “My nanny is part of the group and came up with the idea for us to help.”

Ciaran Ciaran, who lives in Shiplake and attends Gillotts in Henley, said: “We have been raking up leaves and done a bit of edging.”

Henley Mayor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said: “I’m very, very grateful for their help — it’s a good initiative and helps our park services team.

“They are contributing to our community and doing something for the people of Henley and those who visit.

“I’m sure it’s a great experience and fun for them. People don’t realise how therapeutic and relaxing gardening is.”

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