AN OXFORD allotment association was crowned Garden Society of the Year in August 1987.

The Rose Hill group beat eleven other finalists to win the national competition.

It was awarded a £500 prize, half of which had to be spent on seeds and equipment.

The association won the competition mainly for the way it encouraged children to get involved in growing vegetables.

It worked with nine-year olds from the Rose Hill First School to cultivate their own allotment where they grew prize-winning produce.

Roger Danbury, of Samuel Dobie & Son which sponsored the contest, said Rose Hill 'appealed to the judges because of their commitment to the community and their encouragement of children's participation'.

The allotment still exists today on Lenthal Road. At the time it had 160 members who cultivated 200 plots.

Mr Edward Brewster, pictured, was delighted at the result.

Mr Banbury added: "Association members have not only shown the benefit of allotments but have demonstrated a true community spirit."