Hebrides was a source of gold at Chelsea show

Martin Anderson in his gold medal Hebridean garden
Martin Anderson in his gold medal Hebridean garden

A Longridge congregation burst into a loud round of applause when they heard that their vicar’s father had won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

And it was the third time that Martin Anderson had gained this prestigious award, his son and Longridge vicar, the Rev David Anderson, told the appreciative audience in St Paul’s Church.

He said afterwards: “As a family we were all thrilled to hear that my Dad had won a gold medal at Chelsea.

“Dad is very competitive and so would have not been pleased if he had achieved a Silver!

“The driving force behind the garden is his desire to raise awareness about Motor Neurone Disease which took the life of a good friend of his when I was very young.

“To win Gold at Chelsea is a wonderful achievement and we are all very proud of him. We wait now to hear what his next project is.”

Mr Anderson’s garden, based around a traditional blackhouse from Lewis on the Outer Hebrides, was also the third he had designed for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, of which he is one of the associate founders.

He said “I feel exhausted, elated and stunned. You always hope for gold, but never know until you open the envelope. It is a fantastic achievement for everyone involved.

“We have had huge support from the islanders themselves, and the garden is also a great way to spread awareness of motor neurone disease among the thousands of visitors.”

He was part-designer with Nottingham Trent University student Jackie Setchfield, who had sourced plants, garden features and materials on Lewis to ensure the entry was as authentic as possible. Mr Anderson, an accountant from Nottingham, has a proven Chelsea pedigree, winning a gold medal and the People’s Choice Award for his first garden in 2008.

This was inspired by the work of Professor Stephen Hawking.