Spring 2020 Newsletter

Newton Le Willows Gardeners Association


It is with great sadness that we must inform you that our chairman Malcolm Greenhalgh passed away on the 25th October 2019. I am sure you are all going to miss him at the Hut and at the Talks.  Malcolm was a man of many achievements some of which you may not be aware: Ecologist, writer, lecturer and broadcaster specialising in environmental wildlife and countryside issues, also Lancashire food, gardening, wildlife and conservation. He was the author of many books on fish and angling and member of many conservation research organisations dealing with birds, estuaries, fish and rivers.

His humour, wit and knowledge will be a great loss. He would help and advise all and was always available to answer a question (no matter how daft it was). In honour of Malcolm, we will be purchasing a trophy for one of the sections in the Show to remember him by.

We sent his wife condolences on behalf of all at the association and those of us who attended his funeral said a sad farewell to our friend and colleague on the 28th November. 

The Committee


2019 was a record year in that our membership exceeded the magic 500 mark once again. Our Sales and Advice Hut had a very successful year and for that we must thank Sheila Yorke (Stock Controller) and her husband Graham. We must also thank those who brought in seedlings and other plants that they did not need and that we could sell to make a nice profit. We will again be raising and selling several varieties of clubroot resistant brassicas and Red Baron onions (that often go to seed from sets) as well as excess tomatoes, courgettes, squash, aubergines and peppers.


N.B. Potatoes and summer onions should be in stock at the Hut around January 18th, you will get an email when they are in.

The Thursday evening talks were excellent, the last one by Margaret Robinson was especially well attended and the trips well booked. We are planning two trips (see page 2):  those wishing to go should book as soon as we open the lists as last year some were disappointed.  The list will be open from Saturday 15th February.

Despite the weather of 2019 – our Flower and Vegetable Show was very successful (see page 3).

Our finances are in good order thanks to Lynn Sumner, our Treasurer, a keen eye is kept on our membership by Jeanette McNulty, our Membership Secretary, Silvana Briers continues to work splendidly as our General Secretary and Dave Hemingway keeps our web site up to date.

We need two sorts of volunteer:

hut helpers: Are you young(ish) and capable of bagging-up Growmore or helping get bags of compost to members’ cars? The Hut is open Saturday/Sunday mornings and a Wednesday evening at peak times (April to mid-June) and though we have sufficient helpers on a Sunday for the coming year, we would welcome more volunteers for a Saturday or Wednesday.

Committee members: Many of us are getting on in years. We could do with a couple or three of you, who are enthusiastic gardeners, can organise things and have a bit of drive, to join the committee and hopefully to take over running the Association when we oldies have had too much.

The Committee



Thursday, 23rd January 2020 at 7.30pm at Newton Sports & Cricket Club, Crow Lane East.


Saturdays 4th January – 24 October, 10.30-12 noon

Sundays 5th January – 25 October, 10.30-12 noon

Wednesdays 1st April – 17 June, 7.00-8.00pm

Good Friday 10th April, 10.30-12 noon (see below).


Spring Bank Holiday Monday, 25th May: Willow Park Rural Craft Fair

Saturday 12th September: Newton-le-Willows Flower and Vegetable Show, Penkford School, Wharfe Road.

This is OUR show and we look forward to as many members as possible putting in exhibits, volunteering help, or just simply coming in the afternoon to admire the judged exhibits and having a cup of tea and piece of cake.


We are offering two trips in 2020 and if they are as popular as last year they will be booked up early. Booking will start from 15th February.  Money with booking please and keep your receipt.

Pick-up points:     Newton High Street outside Stocks Tavern, or outside Lime House, Lowton.

Timing: Pick-up 9am. We aim to get back to Lime House or Stocks Tavern about 6pm.

1. Trentham Gardens:  Tuesday 16th June 2020:  Cost £26

Includes entry to the gardens. There is also the garden centre and the shopping area to look around.

2. Harrogate Show: Saturday 19th September 2020:  Cost £35

Includes entry to the show.


These are held at Newton Sports & Cricket Club, Crow Lane East, on Thursdays at 7.30pm.

27th February:  Marcus Chiltern-Jones, Curator. The making of the new RHS Garden Bridgewater

This should be an extremely interesting talk and hopefully well attended as it will mean we have a RHS garden on our doorstep. All are welcome.

26th March: Marguerite Hughes and Sue Gillon – Herbs and companion planting.

30th April: Paul O’Byrne. A plant by any other name?

28th May: Gardeners’ Question Time….ask us anything about gardening

29th October: Matthew Smith. Tulips

Good Friday, 10th April:   10.30-12 noon: Free Coffee and Cake at the Rob Lane Sales Hut. Come and see us and have a chat.


Big thanks to all who helped to make the show a great success. The hard work from all our members and volunteers culminates in a fantastic display of flowers and produce each year and one that we always look forward to. There were 477 exhibits from 59 exhibitors and we were pleased with the judges commenting on the high quality of exhibits in this year’s show. However, we still need more, especially from children (with support from parents and grandparents, please!) in the children’s category, and members who have never put what they have grown onto a show bench. It is great fun!

There were a good number of visitors, all interested to see the exhibits, play tombola and purchase raffle tickets. All the judges did a sterling job and it was a frenzy of activity in the backroom when the results came in and we got busy writing and displaying the certificates and witnessing sheer delight on faces of the exhibitors, when awarded a certificate for their prize apples, potatoes or dahlias. We may not be the Chelsea Flower Show but the sheer joy I witnessed of a child winning a cup and a lady winning a certificate make all the effort worthwhile. They will have lasting memories of a great experience at our show…long may it continue.

The major prize winners

Arthur Green Perpetual TrophyJean Darbyshire
National Veg Society Silver MedalAlan Ashworth
NLWGA ShieldAlan Ashworth
Top TrayAlan Holman
National Dahlia Society Silver MedalCarol Moakes
Dahlias Most PointsChris Nightingale
Pot Plants Most points (Sue Lever Trophy)Chris Nightingale
Flowers Most PointsChris Nightingale
National Dahlia Society Bronze MedalChris Nightingale
Rose ShieldGraham Yorke
Chrysanthemums Most Points (H K Jeacock Trophy)Helen Dolan
Top VaseHelen Dolan
Gordon Brooks TrophyIan Fairclough
Vegetables Most PointsIan Fairclough
Bert Jackson Memorial CupKaren Cunningham
Photographic Challenge CupLynn Sumner
National Chrysanthemums Society Silver MedalPaul Speakman
The Royal Horticultural Society Banksian MedalRichard Burniston
Gladioli Most PointsSheila Yorke
British Gladiolus Society Bronze MedalSheila Yorke
Roses Most PointsSilvana Briers

We couldn’t put on the Show without sponsorship and we’re very grateful to our main sponsor the Rotary Club of Newton-le-Willows, as well as Jewellery by Silvana, Lapwing Gardening, Loach (Horticultural), Memory Lane Holidays & Travel, Think Ahead Community Stroke Group, Bents Garden & Home and Kings Seeds.  We also had numerous individual sponsors for some categories in the schedule.

We are also grateful to Penkford School for letting us use the school to host our show every year.

A massive thank you to you all.

If you would like to sponsor one or more fruit, vegetable or flower classes in this year’s show, please ask at the Hut from June onwards.

The 2019 Show was my first time as Show Secretary and I really enjoyed the experience. I had lots of help and advice throughout the year especially from our chairman Malcolm Greenhalgh and after a short illness I am saddened to say he is no longer with us. His wonderful knowledge of horticultural issues was immense. I will truly miss him and I am sure he will be greatly missed by everyone. He will be a very difficult act to follow.

We wouldn’t have a show without the members, their family and friends in the community who exhibit items they have grown, baked, drawn or photographed so please keep up the good work and encourage others to exhibit and support our show for generations to come. I’d encourage everyone to take part, particularly the children, roll on the next show so get planning now…..

                                                                                                                         Marj McMahon (Show Secretary)

2020 Show

The 2020 Show categories for all fruit, vegetable and flower classes are as in the Show Schedule which will be available from the beginning of June.

For Photography the topics are:  Flight, Umbrellas, Concrete &/or clay

For Art: Garden Fruits

For Cookery (recipes given, see schedule):

Large cake = Bran Loaf

Small individual cake = Carrot cake muffins with orange icing

For Children’s Categories:

Cookery = Free style decoration of 4 small cakes;

 Art = My favourite animal – a picture or model using any materials.

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