MARMALADE made by Armed Forces veterans at an Ayr gardening therapy project has scooped a best-in-show prize at the World’s Original Marmalade Awards.

Gardening Leave – a charity that helps veterans with mental health issues – submitted a Seville orange marmalade made by three veterans at the charity’s Auchincruive project using the recipe and guidance of horticultural therapist Victoria Brown (pictured).

It beat thousands of other entrants from around the world at the awards, jointly scooping the best-in-show title, and could soon be stocked at awards sponsor Fortnum & Mason’s London store to raise money to support veterans’ recovery.

MARMALADE1Awards oganiser Jane Hasell-McCosh said: “I am delighted that Gardening Leave is one of our joint winners this year, particularly as it is a charity in which I believe wholeheartedly. I hope that this win will help to raise the profile of such a worthwhile organisation.”

Using horticultural therapy, Gardening Leave supports veterans aged 21-65 years on their journey to good health and transition to civilian life.

The charity encourages veterans to learn to cook, mostly using produce grown in the charity’s gardens. Produce and preserves are also sold on to raise funds or donated to local homeless organisations.

Heather Budge-Reid, chief executive of Gardening Leave, said: “We are incredibly touched by the fact that something we love doing has won any kind of award, never mind such a prestigious one.

“This means such a lot. It will help to restore the confidence and pride of the veterans, many of whom face the daily challenges of post-traumatic stress.”

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