Glendale gardener given lifetime award

Tommy Swan is presented with a lifetime achievement award by Lenn Cragg and Patrick Sheard. Picture by Jane Coltman
Tommy Swan is presented with a lifetime achievement award by Lenn Cragg and Patrick Sheard. Picture by Jane Coltman

Wooler gardener Tommy Swan has been presented with the Glendale Agricultural Society Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, supported by the Glendale Gateway Trust, is in recognition of Tommy’s outstanding contribution to the horticultural show, which takes place every year as part of Glendale Show.

It also acknowledges his membership of the Red Cross and his role as a first aider in earlier days.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was specifically introduced in 2017, first presented to Susan Burston and, posthumously, to Chris Leyland MBE.

Tommy was presented with the award at Glendale Show, where he first started showing vegetables 70 years ago, in 1948.

Patrick Sheard, chairman of the Glendale Gateway Trust, said: “We would all like to thank Tommy for his massive contribution to the displays of vegetable and flowers that he has unfailingly contributed over the years.

“These are testimony to his skill and dedication and have given much pleasure to show goers who have admired them, and the prizes they have won.

“All the nominations we have received over the last two years have been worthy winners of the award, which is testimony to the service so many give to their community of Glendale.”

Now 93, and a lifelong Glendale resident from Wooler, Tommy was first encouraged to enter his home-grown shallots by a neighbour.

His interest flourished, like the things he grew, and he went on the exhibit across the region.

He was much in demand as a judge himself, and was never happier than when presenting prizes to others for their work.

Latterly, failing health has restricted his entries, but his interest and support has remained undiminished.

Tommy’s nomination was proposed by a past president of the North Yorkshire County Show – an indication of the high regard he is held in throughout the North East.

Tommy said: “I have been involved with Glendale Show since 1940, and I am absolutely delighted to receive this award.”

The award consists of £50 and a trophy, a carving on Doddington stone by local artist Paul Greenwood, reminiscent of the cup and ring-marked rocks that are one of Glendale’s hallmarks.