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A gardener in Kirkbymoorside has won a Yorkshire Housing Good Neighbour Award for his amazing work growing flowers and fruits and keeping the communal areas of Sturdy Court looking beautiful throughout the year.

Brian Atkinson, 81, has lived in Sturdy Court for 15 years, and more recently he has been busy planting flowers and various other plants in and around the sheltered accommodation, making it a welcoming place for residents and visitors.

In December he was awarded by Yorkshire Housing as part of an initiative to highlight our amazing customers and tenants.

“I was brought up with gardening”, said Brian. “I had a piece of garden and my dad grew everything and we lived with it. When I was 20 I got my own piece of land and started growing everything. But I never grew flowers, it was always vegetables.”

Brian was taught about flowers by his neighbours, who unfortunately don’t get out and about as much as they used to, so Brian does the hard work and they get to enjoy the fruits of his labour – in some cases literally.

“It’s nice getting out and it keeps me busy,” said Brian. “Joan at number one has taught me everything she knows about flowers. I planted some strawberries for the first time this year and everyone had some of them,” he added.

Brian says his favourite flower is sweet pea and he sees gardening as a way to enjoy some fresh air and a bit of exercise.

“It keeps you going and is something to do. I go out and have an hour and then come inside and heat up and then go out and have another hour.”

Other residents at Sturdy Court love seeing the flowers out their windows and they all have a nice word to say about Brian.

“If it wasn’t for Brian who would do it? He is super, Brian,” said Joan. Another resident, Jack, who’s 95, simple said: “Brian looks after me.”

Lucy Jennings, neighbourhood officer, said Brian brings something special to the outside communal areas with his flowers and plants. She added:

“He deserves this award because it is lovely to come to Sturdy Court and see all the flowers, especially in the summer. It brightens the day and makes the scheme look welcoming. He puts a lot of time and effort into it for us and I thought he deserved recognition for it.”

James Haigh, community investment manager, said it wasn’t only the gardening Brian was being recognised for. “He looks out for people and helps out as well. He’s just a really good neighbour for those living at Sturdy Court.”

Brian received a certificate and £70 of shopping vouchers.