Sheffield marine Tom plots to rescue garden

Denis Baxter and his overbgrown allotment
Denis Baxter and his overbgrown allotment
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A KIND-HEARTED Royal Marine Commando has come to the aid of a city pensioner who was told he would be evicted from his allotment if he didn’t tidy it up.

Lance Corporal Tom Newsome, aged 26, read of Denis Baxter’s plight in The Star and offered to help tidy up his patch in Meersbrook, while he is on leave from the Navy.

Mr Baxter, aged 82, of Bowshaw Avenue, Batemoor, was finding it hard to maintain his plot after suffering from a heart attack and pneumonia.

He had lovingly tended his fruit bushes at Meersbrook allotments three times a week for 20 years, but after the site fell into disrepair he was warned by Sheffield Council he must tidy up or lose his tenancy, because there is a long waiting list for the plots.

Mr Baxter was given a deadline of June 30 by which to tidy the site.

And last week Tom’s fiance, Nichola Marshall, contacted The Star to say Tom would be happy to help out.

Nichola, 28, said: “He likes helping people out, he does voluntary work too and we thought it would give him something to do while he is off on leave.

“I think it’s really nice he has offered to help Mr Baxter out, it’s hard when you get older and I think it is lovely of him, rather than sitting at home playing games - it’s a very fitting thing for Tom to offer to do.”

She said Tom, 26, who is from Penistone originally and has been in the forces for seven years, had two weeks’ leave before relocating from Glasgow to Devon to help out during the Olympics.

The council said it first wrote to Mr Baxter in 2010 about the state of the allotment. He had only just informed them of his ill health.

Paul Billington, council director of culture and environment, said: “It is great that Lance Corporal Newsome can take the time out to help Mr Baxter get his plot cleared and ready to use.

“We welcome this and will be happy to further extend the time Mr Baxter has to improve his allotment.

“We still want to find a long-term resolution for all concerned.

“We have offered Mr Baxter a number of options, such as splitting the plot or relocating him to a smaller, more manageable allotment within the Meersbrook site. However, we expect Mr Baxter to make contact with us to discuss how he would like to proceed.”