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Nine-year-old deaf from Tyneside grows giant leeks, onions and cauliflowers

A deaf nine-year-old girl has defeated dozens of experienced gardeners to win first prize at a vegetable growing competition.

Molly Smith came top in five out of 12 categories at this year's Houghton Feast in Tyne and Wear, including the award for the most points overall.

The schoolgirl learned to grow enormous leeks and onions by spending time in the garden with her grandfather John Smith.

At the ancient festival Molly was given the prize for the heaviest onion, the best blanched leeks, and the best collection of vegetables.
She also took the awards for top performance in the vegetable section, and for the most points in the whole competition.

Molly, from West Boldon in South Tyneside, was presented with five trophies at the event.
Her mother Jo Gibson said: 'It's great, she loves growing them. She is profoundly deaf so everything she knows she does by sight. She learns from watching people around her.

'Molly is a bit of a granddad's girl, she goes to help him in the garden about three times a week. This is the first year she has won anything, so she is over the moon to have won so many awards.'

The schoolgirl's grandmother Cathy Smith added: 'Nothing fazes her, she just gets on with it. She goes swimming, plays football and does cheerleading - she's very active.

'She has been gardening with her granddad since she was tiny. She has been going to Haughton Feast since she was a couple of weeks old.

'My husband idolises her, he has even bought her a boiler suit for the garden!'

Houghton Feast dates back to the 12th century, and now runs for 10 days every year.

It features traditional activities such as an ox roast, as well as more modern attractions like a fairground and carnival.



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