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History

The Society was formed in 1983 by seven tenants of the Sunnybank Allotment site for the benefit of the allotment holders and to safeguard their common interest. It was given the name ‘Whaley Bridge & District Allotment Holders Society’, and became recognised by the Town Council as the body representing plotholders/tenants on allotment matters. A constitution was created and the new Society became affiliated to the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd (NSALG) deriving benefits such as discounted seed order scheme, specialised insurance, and free advice and legal costs.

A few years later, valuable help and advice was given by NSALG in negotiations with North West Water Plc and land agents when the new water pipeline (Fernilee-Audenshaw) was routed through the allotment site (c 1990). This created much correspondence and work for the Secretary at the time, Bob Pierce, but due to his efforts the plotholders affected by the upheaval were duly compensated by NWW following protracted negotiations.

Initially membership of the Society was small but in 1989 it was extended to all gardeners in the district by changing the name of the Society to its present form and the constitution was duly amended. With growing numbers the range of activities/events became wider over subsequent years to satisfy the needs of social members as well as the active gardeners, and coach trips, open gardens, talks and coffee mornings at the Mechanics Institute are now regular events.

In 1993 the Society obtained the lease of a garage site at the top end of Elnor Lane from the Borough Council. A concrete single garage was erected on a concrete base and fitted out as the Society’s storage/trading shed and business commenced in 1994. The store is a valuable benefit to members who can get their garden supplies locally at prices cheaper than at most retailers, and is run by members on a voluntary basis opening on Sunday mornings, March-June. It has become customary to hold a plant swap/sale each summer at the store.

One of the founder members, John Howes, started a regular newsletter, c 1995, covering everything relevant to the Society including his own personal musings on local wildlife, the weather and his plot on the allotment. As the Secretary at that time he put in a tremendous amount of effort, being totally devoted and involved in all the Society’s functions, the Allotment site, the Store (which he used to run), the annual seed order, trips, plant swaps, coffee mornings, arranging open gardens, pub quiz etc. in addition to committee work and membership records. He was in fact e He the driving force of the Society over many years. His newsletters were a joy to read due to his style of writing, his wit, tact and good humour. Sadly John died in 2009 but his legacy remains with us.

Since 2003 the Society has acquired various garden hand tools, gazebos, gardening videos, which are available for members to borrow free, and trade discounts have been negotiated with local retail outlets. Garden Parties were held to celebrate the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the Society and it currently offers a wide range of benefits and a programme of events throughout the year appealing to all members.

In 2017 the NSALG affiliation fees and insurance premium rose to virtually negate the annual membership subscriptions and in consequence a decision was made by the Committee, ratified at the 2017 AGM, to change affiliation from NSALG to The Allotments & Gardens Council (U.K.) which offers similar benefits for a much reduced affiliation fee.



 

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