Assessors

In 2017, volunteer assessors were estimated to contribute almost 900 hours of time to the It's Your Neighbourhood campaign, so it is clear that without the contribution of our expert assessors and the invaluable guidance they give to the entrants, It's Your Neighbourhood would not be the campaign it is today.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood, please read the two stories in the 'Related Documents' section and check out the volunteer opportunity here.

Find out about the It's Your Neighbourhood assessors below.

  • Adrian Miles
    Adrian joined the Beautiful Scotland judging and It's Your Neighbourhood assessing teams in 2016. Adrian has been a gardener by profession for 20 years having given up the fast pace of city life as a marketing executive for a major telecommunications company. Before moving to Scotland in 2009 he qualified in and taught the subject of horticulture for East Surrey College based in Redhill, taking students through Gardening qualifications in ‘City and Guilds’, later to become 'National Vocational Qualifications'. Adrian also starred in the start-up company POD3 TV’s new gardening series when podcasting was in its infancy in 2007. Adrian has had published articles on his gardens in both the Scottish and UK-wide press and opens two gardens in Fife under Scotland’s open-garden scheme. He continues to provide talks on aspects of horticulture. Adrian has a special interest in unusual woodland plants and is a keen rosarian.
  • Alan Gray
    Alan has been involved in Horticulture for 37 years, employed by Aberdeen City Council in various positions and currently Assistant Operations Manager. As Aberdeen has been involved in 'Bloom' in all it’s various guises he has seen a lot of changes - from it solely being about Council parks, gardens and floral displays, to the present day where Horticulture is still important, but so also are communities, environmental issues and volunteering. A volunteer one way or another since he was 19, Alan has made many lasting friendships through the vast diverse range of people he has met over time. A Beautiful Scotland Judge since 2010, followed shortly after by being an It’s Your Neighbourhood Assessor and now, after having applied for, been interviewed and being successful, going forward next year as a trainee RHS Britain in Bloom judge. He hopes to use this experience to promote the good work done in Scotland and to broaden his horizons and see what can be gleaned to improve upon our already excellent standing in the world of “In Bloom “! It could be a very busy blooming year with all that is going to be going on as BiB entrant, IYN entrant, BiB judge, Beautiful Scotland judge and It’s Your Neighbourhood assessor, as well as working full time in an environment which is ever changing and challenging in these austere times!
  • Angela Smith
    Angela trained as a horticulturist and florist 30…something years ago! with Renfrew District Council. She was based in the central nursery in Hawkhead, Paisley, and was part of the propagation team growing on in excess of 350,000 annual bedding plants, perennials and edible crops.  Angela successfully ran her own business 'Angela’s Flowers' in Bridge of Weir, engaging closely with her local community, sharing her knowledge, skills and passion in horticulture, and brought three beautiful children up in her back shop!! Angela has also worked within Education, using horticulture as a vehicle to engage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and to support life and core skills and, at the same time, building their confidence and self esteem. She has also worked in horticultural therapy centres, delivering holistic therapeutic horticulture, and is presently employed by the Royal Horticultural Society working within Education, Communities and Funding. Angela thoroughly enjoys supporting and assisting schools, community growing groups and individuals to enjoy growing inside and out across Scotland, and she is a happy gardening granny.
  • Colin Ainsworth
    Colin has had a varied and considerable experience throughout the public sector over the past 40 plus years. He started with Blackpool Parks as an apprentice in 1972, then gained a place at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, successfully completing the Diploma course (DHE). He then moved down to Warwickshire College as a Horticultural Technician/Instructor, then moved to Dundee City Council in 1983 as a Parks Training Officer. Colin held other roles within Dundee City Council - Assistant Horticultural Officer, Horticultural Officer and latterly Health & Safety Officer for the then Leisure & Communities Department. Since its, inception Colin was heavily involved in the organisation and logistics for the Dundee Flower & Food Festival. Colin took early retirement in September 2011, is a long standing member of the Hardy Plant Society and has been the Vice Convener for the Scotland & Northern Borders Group of the HPS. Colin judges for Beautiful Scotland as well as assessing for It's Your Neighbourhood.
  • Graham McKay
    Graham is a first time assessor for It’s Your Neighbourhood this year. Graham has worked for Aberdeen City Council for 35 years, initially within the Cleansing Department before moving on to the present day where he works as an Operations Manager within Environmental Services. Graham has direct operational responsibility for Parks, Ground Maintenance, Street Cleaning, Graffiti removal and public conveniences. He has been heavily involved with the City’s 'In Bloom' group for the last five years, and has been a Judges Guide on ‘Judgement Day’, for the past three years, culminating in the City achieving a Gold Award in Britain in Bloom in 2014. He became involved with 'In bloom' initiatives after being invited to an awards ceremony and being so struck by the enthusiasm of everybody involved, especially the many community volunteers.
  • Helen Stockham
    New assessor in 2016 - has experience of dealing with and supporting a wide range of community groups.
  • Ian Maclennan
    Ian has been assessing, along with his wife Sandra, for many years now, and gives a lot of his time to the campaign.
  • Ian Mitchell
    Ian joined the assessing team in 2015. Ian previously worked for Aberdeen City Council and now works for Aberdeenshire Council as a Landscape Services Officer.
  • Jenny Sibbald
    Jenny has loved gardening since a child and, growing up in the North East, her Dad was a keen show competitor and grew giant vegetables, sweet peas and chrysanthemums and she always had her own patch! After training at college in Home Economics and Business Management, Jenny worked for the NHS in the Special Diet department in Newcastle and then for, what was then, the North Eastern Gas Board. The next few years were spent travelling all over the world on ships accompanying her husband who was a chief engineer. Gardening took over again and she studied in Dundee for her Advanced City and Guilds in Horticulture, Botany and Floral Art. After spending 15 years living in Holland, Southern and Western Norway, Jenny settled back home to St Andrews in 2002, where she has been involved with the 'Bloom' group for 10 years. She loves meeting the people whilst judging/assessing and learning about their achievements.
  • Jim Henderson
    Jim has been an assessor now for four years and enjoys every visit he makes. He is an experienced gardener, having worked allotments for more than 50 years, and has been a director of the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen for more than 20 years, being a past Chairman of the Society. He is presently involved in running both adult and children’s gardening workshops for the RHSA in conjunction with Duthie Park in Aberdeen, and also leads Cove in Bloom in all their activities. Jim is now on the board of the recently formed Cove Woodland Trust, which is buying an area of approx. 16 acres of land on which to develop a Community Country Park for the residents of Cove and Altens.
  • John MacLennan
    John joined Keep Scotland Beautiful's team of judges and assessors in 2014. The majority of his working career was within the flower seed trade, serving in a sales and technical capacity with Colegrave Seeds and Moles Seeds. Through this work he came in contact with growers and local authorities throughout Scotland, Ireland and Northern England, often assisting in plant choice for entries in Beautiful Scotland, Ulster in Bloom and Yorkshire in Bloom. Trained at East of Scotland College of Agriculture, West of Scotland Agricultural College, and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, John possesses a wide experience including many aspects of horticulture such as education and training, horticultural therapy, and ornamental crop production. Since 1960 John has also been involved with amateur gardening groups and, via Scottish Gardeners Forum, gives talks to local groups. From 1994 to 1997 he was Secretary of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society as well as for over forty years being the mainstay of Blackhall Horticultural Society.
  • Linda Evans
    Linda works for Sustrans Scotland which is a charity encouraging active travel. In 2017 she gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Level 2 certificate in the principles of horticulture, having studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. She has loved sharing her knowledge and passion for gardening with the It's Your Neighbourhood groups since becoming an assessor in 2016.
  • Peter Sandwell
    Peter works in the Environment Department of Dundee City Council. He is a Green Flag judge, heavily involved in the Bonnie Dundee entry into Beautiful Scotland, and has been an assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood for a number of years.
  • Robin Miller
    With over 35 years experience of working in the Public sector, Robin has been a volunteer for Keep Scotland Beautiful for over 10 years. Robin has been assessing Its Your Neighbourhood for the last four years. He never ceases to be amazed by the drive and enthusiasm of volunteer groups to make a real difference to their communities and is greatly encouraged by those groups who seek to involve the local schools and communities in their projects.
  • Sandra Anton
    Sandra works for West Dunbartonshire Council and has assessed for It's Your Neighbourhood for a number of years. She is involved in the Dalmuir Park Restoration project.
  • Sandra Maclennan
    Sandra has been judging for Beautiful Scotland for many years, and also assesses for It’s Your Neighbourhood. She is heavily involved in Forres in Bloom and is a retired head teacher.
  • Sarah Turnill
    Sarah joined the list of assessors in 2014 and enjoyed her assessment visits so much she took on the challenge again. It can be a challenge juggling work and life, but meeting people and being shown round gardens, allotments, parks, and village streets is an inspiration. Sarah was a part of a group that achieved Outstanding for their woodland garden for Its Your Neighbourhood, so knows what the groups are going through. Sarah is a committee member for Dunbar in Bloom, which gained a Silver medal award at its first attempt in Beautiful Scotland in 2014. Sarah works as a senior nurse within East Lothian, is involved with the family farm in the Scottish Borders, enjoys visiting other people's gardens in the National garden scheme, tends her own herbaceous border and shows Jacob sheep at local agricultural shows in her spare time!
  • Steven Shaw
    Steven is the Environmental Manager at Aberdeen City Council. He is passionate about supporting community groups across Aberdeen in the Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood as he sees the campaigns as being very important to what the council does - and he loves being part of it! Aberdeen's 'in bloom' partner numbers are growing all the time and Steven sees this as key to the on-going success of the Environment Department's services. Steven joined the assessing team in 2015 - after encouraging most of his team to become judges or assessors, he thought it was high time he did the same!
  • Sue Steel
    Sue joined the assessing team in 2015. She is the contact for the Biodiversity Network.
  • Terry Stott
    Terry is a judge for Beautiful Scotland and an assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood. Terry worked with Aberdeen City Council in various positions within the Links and Parks, Leisure and Recreation, Contracting Services and finally as an Area Officer in Environmental Services involved in all aspects of Horticultural for 42 years. In this time Aberdeen was an entrant in Beautiful Scotland and Britain in Bloom winning various awards. Terry retired in 2010, and is now involved with Slopefield Allotments entry to Its Your Neighbourhood, and encouraging and assisting other groups in Aberdeen to become involved in Its Your Neighbourhood. He thinks it is good to get people involved in their neighbourhoods as it makes a huge difference to the area they live in. Terry has been a Beautiful Scotland Judge and an Its Your Neighbourhood Assessor for over six years now, meeting great people and seeing beautiful displays (sometimes the weather does not do its best for the community or judge on the day!). Terry grows annuals and herbaceous plants to exhibit at various Flower Shows; if he is not showing he judges 'Cut Flowers' at several Flower Shows in the area. Terry has been involved with the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen for the past 26 years and Chairman from 2010 to 2013 - the society run a Spring and Summer show annually. In 2014 Terry received a Certificate of Merit from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and in 2017 a Community Champion award from the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Wendy Murray
    Wendy has a background in Public Service and has been a volunteer in her own community of East Haven for over 20 years. Wendy led on the East Haven 800 celebrations and has been heavily involved with Keep Scotland Beautiful's Beautiful Scotland campaign since 2014.
  • Wendy Suttar
    Wendy has been a keen gardener since childhood and was a founder member of Cove in Bloom. She helps run regular gardening workshops for the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen in conjunction with Duthie Park for both adults and children, and has been Treasurer for the RHSA since 2009. She is now treasurer of the newly formed Cove Woodland Trust whose aim is to buy and maintain a tract of land for the community of Cove and Altens which will be formed into a community park and woodland. Wendy started assessing for It's Your neighbourhood in 2017 and enjoys meeting other groups, offering a helping hand where it is welcomed.

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