For Lifetime Achievement Award winner Wendi Beal, heaven really is a place on earth. It’s her allotment in Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley.
The retired University of Sheffield clinic nurse first acquired her green space 10 years ago, and has worked to transform the plot into a haven for wildlife, plantlife and flowers.
Never shy of getting her hands dirty, Wendi has built her own greenhouse made from materials she found herself. Wendi, of Stannington, regularly opens up the oasis to local schoolchildren and has just won a city-wide competition for the most environmentally friendly plot for the second consecutive year.
“I try to work with my surroundings, I work with nature,” said Wendy. “I use logs and other natural materials and I recycle.
“I made the greenhouse myself from recycled timber, I have got a shed made out of half recycled timber and I used everything I could find for the hen hut.
“I try to grow organic, I’m virtually chemical free.”
She grows vegetables and flowers that attract bees and other insects, there’s a pond for newts, frogs and toads and a chicken run. There are also nest boxes and birds such as wrens, robins, great tits, blue tits and thrushes.
As well as giving her a decade of peace, plants and produce, Wendi’s allotment - which she refers to as her green gym - has helped to keep her active. She estimates that she walks around 41 miles to get to and from the garden every week.
Collecting her award, Wendi said: “This was a complete surprise. It is fantastic. Allotments are fun - everyone should have an allotment!”
Her dedication to her allotment has been tested to the limit this year due to weather conditions.
When asked to share the secrets of her success with the audience, Wendi said:
“Just think about what the wildlife needs. This year has been one of the toughest so I’d advise to build beds up high.”