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Horticultural students support charity in Christmas tree recycling scheme

Published: 30/01/2017

Horticultural students from Wiltshire College Lackham made light work of chipping more than 100 Christmas trees given to the college as part of a charity initiative to encourage donations.

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Lecturer Chris Roberts with Level 3 Horticultural students and apprentices and Bill Johnston from TH White at Lackham.

Dorothy House trialled the scheme, which saw volunteers pick up more than 131 trees people in the SN13 area after Christmas in return for a donation, and raise a total of £6,041.

The trees were then delivered to Lackham, which specialises in landbased courses, to give Level 1, 2 3 students and apprentices the opportunity to learn an extra skill.

Horticulture lecturer Chris Roberts said: “This was a great opportunity for our students to gain work experience during their time at college to enhance their skills and increase their employability.”

Wood chipping specialist Bill Johnston, from T H White, brought a Greenmech chipper to the campus to assist in the processing and recycling of the Christmas trees.

He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating the safe use of the chipper and provide ongoing maintenance so that the students were able to recycle the trees.”

Doug Beck, 16, who is a first year Level 3 student, said: “I really enjoyed having the chance to use the chipper.

“Outside of the course I work with my dad who is a self-employed gardener and so have been around chippers before and seen them being used.

“What I liked about this particular one is the swivel feature and the reverse gear to unblock anything that gets stuck.”

James Baily has been an apprentice working at Lackham for just over a year.

The 20-year-old said: “During my apprenticeship I have had the chance to use a chipper, but being able to have a go using this one has been really interesting as it is a new piece of equipment and has some good features including being computerised.”

All the chippings will now be used on the rhododendrons and azaleas in the grounds at Lackham.

Anthony Cockell, who is head gardener at Lackham, said: “We would like to give our sincere gratitude to Bill and TH White, not only for providing the equipment, but Bill’s approach and delivery of information to the students was exemplary.

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