Keep St AndrewsGardeners’ Club from wilting

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The ailing St Andrews Gardeners’ Club is hoping for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year - by recruiting new blood.

Chairman Ian Dochard has enlisted the help of the Citizen to hopefully encourage green fingered enthusiasts - and anyone else with an interest in gardening - to consider signing up to save the once thriving organisation from extinction.

Founded more than 175 years ago and formerly known as the St Andrews and District Horticultural Association, apart from St Andrews University it is reckoned to be the oldest organisation in the town.

Mr Dochard said: ”The association is facing an uncertain future. We have a hard-working committee, but we desperately need to swell our membership. There is no doubt that we are now facing a crisis situation.”

Dwindling membership has been a source of concern over recent years, with the loss of several prominent senior members a major blow.

Mr Dochard, who initially stepped in to assist as interim chairman following a similar appeal in 2010 - it enjoyed some success at that time with the formation of a new committee - added: ”I would urge people in and around St Andrews to get in touch and help preserve the association. New members will be given a very warm welcome.”

The association was originally founded to encourage the growing and displaying of flowers, fruit and vegetables and traditional domestic skills, including cooking and handicrafts, as well as flower arranging.

Its annual show is a popular feature of the yearly calendar in St Andrews and it attracts entries from many parts of Fife and further afield, while dozens of young people submit competetion entries for drawing and painting of flowers, making up miniature gardens and novelty items made from vegetables and such like.

The association also hosts an annual series of winter meetings and lectures in Hope Park and Martyrs’ Parish Church when invited speakers give talks on a wide range of horticultural subjects.

Anyone interested in joining or requiring more information should contact Mr Dochard (tel 01334 472776).