Latest News Inspiration in Education nominee – Derek Hulme

Inspiration in Education nominee – Derek Hulme

8 July 2024

Inspiration in Education nominee – Derek Hulme

Veg growing skills learnt from his grandad kept Derek Hulme fed during times of financial hardship and now he’s passing on those same skills to children as a primary school volunteer.

The 63-year-old, who holds the Guinness World Records for the heaviest runner bean and the longest leek, is a volunteer mentor at The Sneyd Academy in Sneyd Green.

Derek has also shared his horticultural expertise through Stoke-on-Trent City Council and St Andrew’s Church in Sneyd Green.

Born and raised in Abbey Hulton and now living in Sneyd Green, Derek says money and food were scarce during his childhood.

It was his grandfather who gave him the life skills to grow his own food.

“Times were hard. We had no money. If we wanted to eat, then this was the way we had to survive.”

Now retired, Derek volunteers full time including tending an allotment at Sneyd Academy using compost and pots donated by the local community.

“The most rewarding part of volunteering is the kids’ faces when they see the finished product of what they started by planting the seed, it is just priceless.

“It’s been amazing to have the backing of some organisations that have provided me with items cost-free. This makes my job so much easier and gives me all the tools I need to deliver this mentoring in a way where I am able to inspire people.

“I’ve donated my own allotment for community use too, so it’s a case of me giving back as well. It’s amazing that the community comes together.

“I’m willing to work with anyone: the council, the university, charities, MPs. I want to stop food waste, and I want to support the people of this great city.”

Derek has been nominated in the Inspiration in Education category of the Your Heroes awards by Mel Osborne.

She said: “Derek has been growing veg since he was a young lad. He’s learned how to be self-sufficient and will always give his time to anyone.”

Derek added: “I am over the moon, but I don’t need the recognition. I’d rather highlight the wider issue of food waste and becoming self-sufficient over people giving me kudos. It’s really nice to be nominated though and I hope this puts a spotlight on what I’m passionate about.”