Emily truly has a head for heights

Ten-year-old Emily Bennett with the sunflower she grew in her grandparents garden at Friar's Well near Alnwick.

Ten-year-old Emily Bennett with the sunflower she grew in her grandparents garden at Friar's Well near Alnwick.

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A GREEN-FINGERED youngster has grown the biggest sunflower yet in the Gazette’s race to find a champion.

Emily Bennett, 10, has grown a 12ft 11in monster at her grandma’s house in Alnwick as part of the 2011 Gazette Sunflower Challenge.

The flower, one of a few planted as a seed by the New Bewick girl, is the biggest we have seen in the competition and amazed judge Tom Pattinson.

Emily has been tending to the plant as much as possible, and it obviously paid off.

Mum Lisa said: “We planted quite a few and when that one was the biggest Emily, being the oldest of the grandchildren, chose that one to look after, and she chose the right one.”

“We planted some at home but they haven’t done anywhere near as well.

“It is a real suntrap where she planted it and it has just taken off.

“Emily is really pleased that she has won, she was over the moon when I told her.

“She is quite keen at this sort of thing. We have a big garden at home and she likes to potter around it.”

In second place was four-year-old Amy Miller-Trotter who managed to grow a magnificent 11ft 4in bloom at home in Lysander Court Warkworth. And in third place was Frances Molineux, 3, of Church Terrace, Shilbottle who ger her sunflower to 10ft 5in.

Judge, Alnwick in Bloom chairman Tom Pattinson, said: “We have seen what the winds have been like and we haven’t really had a summer to speak of, but this is the tallest one we have ever seen in this competition.

“All of those we judged still had flowers on them although they were just fading.

“The one at Warkworth had the biggest flower head you have ever seen.

“Normally, 11ft 4in would have been enough to win it, but one inch short of 13ft is quite something.

“There was a really good effort put in this year from all of them.”

Emily will win a £25 WHSmith voucher while Amy takes a £15 voucher and Frances a £10 one.

All three will be presented with their prizes at the Alnwick in Bloom awards ceremony next Tuesday at Alnwick Garden.