Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry has marked nearly a decade of support for an allotment society by agreeing to become its president.
At the AGM of the Spital Farm Allotment Association held last Saturday (August 10) Sir Tony formally accepted the role while presenting annual prizes and cups to the society’s members.
Sir Tony was instrumental in helping secure a new home for the allotments after they were forced to move from their original home next to the Grundon Waste Management factory on Merton Street, Grimsbury, to an adjacent site eight years ago.
Society member John Stokes, 80, who also campaigned to save the allotments, said Sir Tony’s support marked a turning point in the fortunes of the society which has grown from 18 to more than 90 members.
“We have never looked back since he got involved,” he said.
“As Mr Baldry said in his acceptance speech he has always been involved in law and statute relating to allotments so he was able to help us a lot.”
Sir Tony worked with Banbury town and Cherwell district councils to secure facilities at the site including roadways, toilets and a social room.
Mr Stokes said the success of the allotments is partly down to the popularity of the pastime, which has taken off across the UK in recent years.
“People want fresh vegetables and want to get out in the open air and grow their own,” he said.
This years prizes were as follows: Sue Moir, best ladies prize; Nadine Radford, best overall winner; Robert Lea, best senior and Paul Dewer, best newcomer.
Mr Baldry also unveiled a plaque entitled Lea Bank on a flower bank created by Robert Lea.
More than 60 people attended the AGM and prizegiving.