Top award for Forfar horticulturist Les

Les with his Certificate of Merit which recognises his contribution to horticulture and gardening in Scotland.

Les with his Certificate of Merit which recognises his contribution to horticulture and gardening in Scotland.

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The chairman of Forfar Horticultural Society has been presented with a Certificate of Merit by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

Les Craib (78), of Yeaman Street, was presented with the award at the society’s annual general meeting at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening.

When I got the letter I was speechless. It is quite an honour.

Les Craib

The award, the highest which can be bestowed on an amateur gardener, was made in recognition of his “highly regarded and significant contribution to horticulture and gardening in Scotland.”

Les attended the meeting with his wife Mary and son Ian as well Jim Ewing and David Nelson, vice-chairman and secretary respectively of Forfar Horticultural Society.

Les, a retired painter and decorator, spends every day in his garden, greenhouse or at his allotment nurturing his love of growing vegetables.

He started exhibiting vegetables at the Forfar Flower Show in 1963 and was awarded a Certificate at the 2013 Flower Show to commemorate 50 years of continuous exhibiting and of loyal service to the society.

He has also entered and judged vegetables at many local shows - this year he is judging at Montrose, Carnoustie, Dundee, Dalkeith, Glenbervie and Stonehaven - as well as at Scottish and National Championships, having won a third prize at the Scottish Branch Championships of the National Vegetable Society.

He was also instrumental in promoting Forfar Horticultural Society’s involvement in Aberdeen where the society won the best exhibit in the show on two occasions.

He has been involved in supporting new exhibitors in growing and showing vegetables and is well recognised for his wide and detailed knowledge of arranging and running the Forfar Horticultural Society Show.

Les, who has been chairman of the Forfar society for over 30 years, is a qualified National Vegetable Society Judge and is a Fellow of the National Vegetable Society.

He confessed news of his recent award had left him speechless.

He said: “I had been waiting for news about judging at the Dalkeith Show, which is associated to the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, in September but when I got the letter I was speechless. It is quite an honour but if I hadn’t the support over the last 50 years of members of Forfar Horticultural Society, past and present, and my wife Mary, there is no way I would be recognised like this. The office bearers have been first class.”