Hatfield pensioner scoops gardening gong

EIGHTY-THREE-year-old Alfred Read works at least seven tireless hours a day, come rain or shine, to help keep a corner in his street looking in tip-top condition.

Sometimes he is out in his work yard until 10pm hand-making numerous pots and creations and he is always purchasing new bits-and-bobs for neighbours to gaze at, as well as obviously keeping and looking after a fine array of flowers.

All this would be more than enough to keep any keen gardener busy, but even more so for Alfred. For the Hatfield resident has been battling with many serious illnesses for years, including most recently prostrate cancer – not that he lets that get in his way!

This week all of Alfie’s (as he is known in the area) hard work in Acacia Street was paid off when he was rewarded the gold prize in the Welwyn Hatfield Tenants’ Panel Gardening Competition.

It is the second time the former manager of the Camden Canal Market for 35 years has won the prize, which was launched in 2005 through the panel’s newsletter Your Voice.

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The jolly father-of-three, who also has two silver awards, told the WHT: “I do the gardening to keep me active; you have to do something to keep you sane!

“I just get on with it. If you sit and think about what you have and haven’t got you’d be a wreck, so you just have to get on with it.

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“My big love is for gardening, when I arrived here eight or nine years ago there was nothing here so I thought I would start it.

“In the past I used to do it at the bottom of the road as well, but we often had bits and pieces stolen, so it wasn’t worth it.”

He added: “I was delighted to win again.”

In the widower’s treasure chest of a front garden he has many unusual pieces including gates that were bought for him as a present, as well as a deer (the symbol of Hertfordshire), a hand-carved trellis, a hand-made wishing well and wheelbarrow, plus a collection of gnomes – featuring Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

Alfie, who spent �250 to get the project looking its best, won gardening vouchers as part of his prize.

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