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Gardeners finish story of allotment that Terry grew

27 July, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Terry Staples with fellow allotment enthusiast Lexi Jary

THE dying wish of a keen gardener to compile a chronicle of his treasured allotment has been fulfilled by two fellow gardeners.

When Kerry Platman, a plot-holder at Arvon Road allotments, agreed to help Terry Staples with his book she did not expect him to die shortly afterwards.

Mr Staples had spent years creating an archive documenting his treasured Highbury allotments, which included the minutes of most meetings.

He died in 2015 after having an allotment for more than 30 years.

“I wanted to help with the book because the allotments are so important,” said Ms Platman, 61, who lives nearby. “Allotments bring the community together. They attract rather eccentric characters – not that many people want to grow a courgette.”

Chris Ashby and Kerry Platman, who said: ‘The allotments are so important’

She added: “It’s so tranquil and lovely here. It’s therapy to have a bit of green space.”

Mr Staples gave half of his archive to Ms Platman about two years ago. “I had my living room floor covered in archive material, trying to get some kind of order by year or by month.

“He was meant to order his half but unfortunately he died. It had been his ambition to complete it, so we carried on,” said Ms Platman.

The book chronicles the struggles that the first gardeners faced when setting up the space – the first meeting of prospective plot-holders took place around 40 years ago at a house in Horsell Road.

“They were pioneers. I had no idea how hard residents had fought to turn a bit of green space into something product­ive,” said Ms Platman.

Fellow gardener Chris Ashby helped Ms Plat­man compile the book.

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