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Horticulture students awarded DCF scholarships

Horticulture students that recently received scholarships from the David Colegrave Foundation

Esther Thoburn from Co. Antrim received £1,000 to support her horticulture studies



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27 August 2020

Horticulture students across Northern Ireland and Britain have been awarded scholarships from the David Colegrave Foundation (DCF).

Receiving a total of £7,500 between them, the students’ interests include plant pathology, growing technology and tree, bedding, houseplant and alpine production.

Esther Thoburn from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, was among the recipients.

The £2,500 Horticulture Research Scholarship went to Liam Morton, who is studying for a MSc Sustainable Plant Health at Scotland’s Rural College/Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

“I’m really delighted to receive the Horticultural Research Scholarship and will be putting the money toward the cost of pursuing a masters course in Plant Pathology,” said Morton. “I’m interested in forest pathogens – particularly species of Phytophthora – and I’m hoping that the masters course will prepare me for a research career in this area.”

Receiving £1,000 each to support their studies in horticulture, the Student Scholarship winners were:

  • Esther Thoburn from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, who is studying FDSC Horticulture at College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Greenmount Campus.
  • Hannah Butler from Worcester, Worcestershire, who is studying a Level 2 Crop Technician Apprenticeship at Pershore College while working as a gardener at Aston University.
  • Isobel Watson from Pershore, Worcestershire, who is studying a Level 3 Crop Technician Apprenticeship at Pershore College while working as a grower at Bransford Webbs.
  • Lee Holmes from Southport, Merseyside, who is studying Production Horticulture Level 3 at Myerscough College while working as a Grower at Lovania Nurseries.

Commenting on her achievement, Thoburn said: “I am very excited for the year ahead; thanks to this scholarship I can upgrade my plant production from home as I complete my Foundation Degree in Horticulture. My passion is for growing native and fruiting trees. I hope to run my own tree nursery or farm in the future.”

The £1,000 BPOA – Peter Seabrook Bursary has been awarded to Argyll College UHI to support a field trip in 2021 for its HNC and HND Horticulture students. The students plan to visit commercial ornamental producers to get hands on experience of working at a nursery.

“Visiting leading horticultural establishments will give the students some insight into this industry sector which they otherwise might not experience,” said Amber Crowley, curriculum development officer – horticulture at Argyll College UHI. “An oversight of the possible employment areas in the industry is essential for them to know what opportunities await. This will be an invaluable experience for the students.”

Jeff Colegrave, chairman, DCF said more students apply for the scholarship each year: “This past season we saw entries from horticultural students studying at 27 colleges and universities across the UK. We strive to select only the most deserving of candidates as our winners based on their personal needs and their passion for the industry. We believe our latest winners will bring a positive contribution to horticulture.”

Winners were also selected for the John Gibson Environmental Scholarship, Majestic Trees Sponsored Travel Scholarship and a Trip Bursary. News on the recipients will follow later due to current restrictions concerning Covid-19.

For more information on the next DCF Scholarship season opening in September 2020, visit  

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