Royal reward for teacher who transformed Sheffield suburb into Britain's most flourishing urban oasis

Amanda Jones chaired the Beighton Environmental Group for a decade
Amanda Jones chaired the Beighton Environmental Group for a decade
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A teacher who transformed her corner of Sheffield into one of Britain's most verdant neighbourhoods has been royally rewarded.

Amanda Jones formed Beighton Environment Group with a handful of other green-fingered volunteers in 2004 and they soon set about tidying and brightening up the suburb.

Amanda Jones with the best in category award Beighton secured at the Britain in Bloom awards in 2010

Amanda Jones with the best in category award Beighton secured at the Britain in Bloom awards in 2010

Having initially campaigned successfully to get more bins for litter and dog muck, the team worked with people across the community to spruce up local parks, introduce colourful planters and hanging baskets, and organise events ranging from litter picks to pond-dipping sessions.

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Their efforts soon paid off and the flourishing locale hoovered up dozens of local and national prizes for its green spaces and fabulous floral displays, culminating in 2010 when it beat competitors from across the country to win the urban category of the prestigious Britain in Bloom awards.

The group, which was set up using European funding, also saved an ancient orchard from development and revived the site, where locals are invited each October to pick apples and take them home.

And it helped launch the village's popular Christmas lantern parade, plant more 150,000 daffodils in just five years and tend a vibrant wildflower meadow and the wildlife haven at Beighton Marsh.

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Amanda chaired the group for a decade before recently handing over the reins, and she remains an active member.

She is one of 1,200 deserving members of the public invited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to attend their royal wedding celebrations in the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19, each with a companion of their choice.

The 49-year-old, who teaches at Redlands Primary School in Worksop, said she still has to pinch herself to believe she is one of the chosen few.

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"My first reaction was one of disbelief but it's a real honour to get the chance to represent South Yorkshire at the wedding and I'm delighted to be able to share in this momentous occasion," said Amanda, who will attend the celebrations with her husband Paul.

"I admire that the young royals are striving to relate to the common people and make the monarchy in touch with our evolving society. I will be smiling with them on their big day.

"We're proud of our work with the environment group, and the contributions by everyone in the community.

"You only have to look around the village to see the difference it's made, and we hope the fruits of our work will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come."