In the knowledge that children are our future, lawnmower manufacturer Etesia UK Ltd has taken the initiative to help an inspired former Local Authority groundsman in his bid to set up school gardening clubs for children in West Yorkshire.
As part of their sponsorship deal, Etesia delivered two pedestrian mowers to the Haworth Primary School where former Bradford Council Landscapes' employee, Steve Thorpe volunteered to set up his first gardening club for the youngsters in 2002.
This first club rose out of problems with vandalism in Haworth, which gave local-man Steve the idea that if he taught children how to garden at a young age they would grow up to respect their environment.
Now, 7 years on, the proof of his success is evident in colorful floral displays dotted around the town, outside the fire and railway stations and doctors' surgery - all planted up twice a year by children from Haworth Primary School's Gardening Club. At the school, healthy lunches are on the menu as the children prepare, cook and eat the vegetables which they have grown. They also take fresh produce to the nearby old peoples' home - an enjoyable visit which benefits both old and young alike.
"The club has proved to be about more than just plants - we observe nature in the pond and surroundings and the children learn about conservation and recycling. The teachers use the wider benefits in subjects such as maths, science, English, art, and cooking to give practical examples in each subject." says Steve, who receives enthusiastic support from head teacher, Janet Parkinson.
Last year the project took on the taming of a rough site at the rear of the school to create a woodland nature trail. "Etesia's Attila AV51 pedestrian brushcutter is absolutely great! Without it, I don't know how we would have cleared the tough overgrown vegetation to create a pathway. We put in some seats and bird boxes, so now everybody, including folk from outside the school, can come and enjoy the peaceful wooded surroundings and watch the wild-life - we want it to benefit the whole community. The second walk-behind mower from Etesia - a Pro53 rotary - is ideal for mowing the path now it is established. It's a brilliant machine and fits in the boot of my car so I can take it to cut grass at some of the other schools where I have set up new gardening clubs" he adds.
Good news travels fast - a film crew from Korea has recently featured the Haworth Primary School in a program on 'the best gardening clubs in the world' and Steve Thorpe has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for planting 2021 bedding plants in an hour!
"The Etesia mowers have really helped me get the West Yorkshire schools' projects off the ground. Everybody is so impressed with their performance. They are easy to start, give a great finish and are thoroughly reliable." concludes Steve.