Worthing highlight of Channel 5’s The Great Gardening Challenge, says presenter Nicki Chapman

Care for Veterans’ home in Worthing will feature on Channel 5 in The Great Gardening Challenge.

The television horticultural contest sees green-fingered Brits compete to transform unused spaces.

The Great Gardening Challenge presenters Carol Klein, Diarmuid Gavin, Nicki Chapman and Mark Gregory with Gifford Bear, Care for Veterans' mascot

The Great Gardening Challenge presenters Carol Klein, Diarmuid Gavin, Nicki Chapman and Mark Gregory with Gifford Bear, Care for Veterans' mascot

Presenter Nicki Chapman has said the visit to Worthing produced the highlight of the series for her, speaking in an exclusive interview for What’s on TV.

Asked what was her highlight from the series, she told the magazine: “I especially loved meeting the people who would be using the gardens. I met a lovely man in Worthing where the teams made gardens for a veteran’s care home. He was telling me about his time in the services and how he’d gone on to have a business cultivating orchids. It was incredibly emotional hearing his story and how much the new gardens would mean to him.”

Care for Veterans will feature in episode three, due to be broadcast on Tuesday, July 16, at 8pm.

Elizabeth Baxter, the charity’s head of fundraising and marketing, said: “The production company contacted us about the programme they were making and said they’d like to feature us. We had a large patch of grass in our gardens that was perfect for what they wanted. It was a completely blank canvas and not used by anyone.

Care for Veterans staff, volunteers and resident Dudley with The Prince's Trust volunteers in the garden at the Boundary Road home for disabled ex-service personnel

Care for Veterans staff, volunteers and resident Dudley with The Prince's Trust volunteers in the garden at the Boundary Road home for disabled ex-service personnel

“The gardeners and crew transformed the patch over three days into two beautiful gardens for our veterans and their families to enjoy. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil the programme. You’ll have to watch to see how it turned out and which garden designer won the challenge.

“We love the results and would never have been able to afford to do anything like this ourselves, so we’re very grateful to Channel 5 and the lovely new gardens will give many years of pleasure to our veterans.”

The charity is celebrating its centenary this year and its new garden has already had a bit of a makeover, thanks to a group of young volunteers from The Prince’s Trust.

The team of eight, all students at Northbrook MET in Worthing, raised money to buy plants and then went along to bed them into the newly-transformed gardens at the charity’s facility.

Sara Hedvicak, deputy team leader, said: “The current team have been fantastic. They’ve worked extremely hard and I’ve received great feedback about them. They’ve all been so enthusiastic. The transformation of Care for Veterans’ gardens is incredible, I feel very proud.”

The students worked tirelessly for five days to create an area of peace and tranquility for residents and their families.

Elizabeth Baxter, head of fundraising and marketing at Care for Veterans, said: “We cannot thank the Prince’s Trust volunteers enough for what they have done for our veterans.

“The area they have created was once overgrown and unusable and through all their hard work, they have transformed it into an attractive, peaceful area where our veterans and their families can sit and enjoy the summer days.

“They are a great example of what hard work, commitment and imagination can do.”

The Team Programme run by the Prince’s Trust is a 12-week course for young people aged 16 to 25 who are looking for new opportunities or fresh challenges.

The programme is free of charge and enables young people to develop communication, leadership and teamwork skills through projects in the community.