Is Amelia, seven, Bradford's youngest allotment holder?

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Amelia Hirst and her dad Paul, at Derby Road allotments Amelia Hirst and her dad Paul, at Derby Road allotments

PARENTS might expect a seven-year-old-daughter to be interested in dolls or Disney.

But Amelia Hirst is such a keen horticulturalist she has become what is believed to be Bradford's youngest allotment holder.

She took up her own plot at the Derby Road site a month ago and has employed the single-minded logic of a child - setting out to grow the things she wants to eat.

Amelia got the gardening bug after her dad Paul started gardening a plot at the same site and eventually she asked for her own.

And while he does the spadework, Amelia is left in charge of weeding and the crucial work of planting and tending for her produce.

Mr Hirst, a software designer, said: "We took our allotment four years ago and I have taken her with me every time I have gone down there.

"Last year she asked if she could have her own plot and I thought 'really?' but as luck would have it a plot came up close to mine.

"I said I would do the hard digging work but she had to do the weeding and planting. Yes, she has kept up to it."

"She is growing potatoes, podded peas and broad beans, things she likes to eat."

Mr Hirst, 42, said Amelia had never had any real interest in dolls and preferred being outdoors.

Now she has plans for a greenhouse on the site, so she can start growing tomatoes.

She said: "Everything I plant I always eat. I want to get a greenhouse so I can grow things like tomatoes."

The family's initial allotment was originally meant to be for Mr Hirst's wife Beth, 36, but a hat-making business left her short of free time so he took over, taking Amelia along too.

Amelia's enthusiasm has also impressed teachers at Valley View School, which she attends in Farsley. They ask her to keep classmates up to date with developments on the plot.

The site is run by Thornbury Gardens and Allotments Association and Amelia has endeared herself to them.

Committee member Georgina Graydon said: "We are so pleased to have Amelia around. I have been asking everyone for donations of equipment for her site. Every time her dad is there, so is she."

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