Alumnus scoops top award at Chelsea Flower Show

Nottingham Trent University landscape design graduate Matt Keightley has scooped a top award at this year's Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show.

Nottingham Trent University landscape design graduate Matt Keightley has scooped a top award at this year's Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show.

The 29-year-old – who graduated from the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment - won the BBC / RHS People's Choice Award for designing 'Hope on the Horizon' for charity Help for Heroes.

Inspired by his brother Mike who is currently serving his fifth tour of Afghanistan with the Royal Air Force, the garden echoes the Help for Heroes ethos; to inspire, enable and support those returning heroes during their recovery and beyond.

Backed by Matt's employer, Maidenhead-based building and landscaping firm Farr & Roberts, the garden was sponsored by the David Brownlow charitable foundation, which represents the complex and progressive path of recovery experienced by wounded, injured and sick military personnel, veterans and their families.

Matt had never designed a public show garden before this years' event. His design also won a show garden silver gilt medal.
"I am absolutely ecstatic to receive this award. It's a real honour," said Matt.

"It's not just for me, but for all of the brave men and women who have served their country and for those who have returned and are now going through the recovery process. These guys are the true inspiration for the garden and where it all began."

Bryn Parry, co-founder and chief executive officer of Help for Heroes, said: "Help for Heroes is all about 'doing your bit' and the garden that Matthew has created does just that."

The garden will now be moved and set within the grounds of Chavasse VC House, a Help for Heroes delivered recovery centre in Colchester, Essex, part of the Defence Recovery Capability.

Doug Wilson, director of Farr & Roberts, said: "We are extremely proud of Matt. He's done a tremendous job and worked extremely hard to get where we are today."

While at the University, Matt was given support in setting up his own business by The Hive, Nottingham Trent University's centre for enterprise and entrepreneurship. After graduating, he ran his own landscaping company based in Richmond Upon Thames before teaming up with Farr & Roberts.

Lindsay Purssord, senior lecturer in Architecture, Landscape and Design, at Nottingham Trent University, who was one of Matt's lecturers, said: "I'm delighted that Matt's garden has gained recognition from the RHS and general public alike.

"Informed by a clear and moving narrative, the design's strong geometric forms contrast with multi-textured, soft-toned planting to create a beautiful garden that I'm sure will be enjoyed by all who use it."

Alumnus scoops top award at Chelsea Flower Show

Published on 27 May 2014
  • Category: The Hive; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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