TV presenter visits Fife school

Frances Tophill and young gardener Fraser White.
Frances Tophill and young gardener Fraser White.

Horticulturist and television presenter Frances Tophill visited a north east Fife school yesterday (Thursday) after one of its pupils won a national competition.

Fraser White (11) a P7 pupil at Dairsie Primary School, was named the Royal Horticultural Society’s Young School Gardener of the Year in 2017.

As part of his reward for winning the title, Ms Tophill visited the school, working with its gardening club and going with Fraser to a local gardening centre.

Fraser said he was “excited” when he found out he had won the competition, after being put forward for it without his knowledge by P6-7 teacher Ruth Selbie.

He added: “It’s quite a big competition, so I was told before I went down that I had won.

“But it was thrilling to win a competition of that size.”

Fraser, who got into gardening through his dad, admitted he had struggled with anger issues, but said that “gardening calmed me down”.

Ms Selbie said: “He’s completely changed.

“He was a ball of anger and he hated school and didn’t want to be here.

“It was a 180 degree turn around. He started turning up early, coming in on the holidays, staying after school.

“And he’s settled in the class room.

“He’s motivated and can see the point in school.”

Pupils from all classes have been involved with the garden, with Fraser even teaching some of the younger children.

Pupils have planted various fruits and vegetables, and are preparing to install a polytunnel. The results have been used to make soup and jams.

“It gets the children outside and lets them see that they can grow their own food,” Ms Selbie explained.

“It gives them space to get muddy and try what they want. There’s no limits.

“If someone brings in seeds, they can try it.”

While Fraser is preparing for life at Bell Baxter, where he hopes to continue his gardening, he does plan on returning to Dairsie PS.

He said: “I want to continue to help the school with the garden.”