A LEGENDARY Barnsley poet helped to launch a Yorkshire garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show which scooped the People’s Choice Award.

The Welcome to Yorkshire garden - designed by Mark Gregory and built by his company Landform Consultants - received an award for its garden, which featured a fake canal with two lock gates which aimed to showcase the county’s rich and industrial heritage.

And Ian McMillan, who is well-known for his strong, distinctive Yorkshire voice, performed a new bespoke poem on the garden written for the occasion to help bring to life the beauty of the county’s waterways and green spaces.

The poet said his work was inspired by Yorkshire ‘being like a garden’, Welcome to Yorkshire and the vast canals in the area.

“It came about as part of the Welcome to Yorkshire as the tourism agency is part of the canal and river trust and I had worked for them before,” said Ian. “I wrote it and went down to read it. I read it out while there was a paddle boarder in the fake canal.

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“It was a wonderful garden and the flower show was great. I have never been there before and it was a bit unusual as there would suddenly be a double-decker bus full of celebrities turning up. “Someone also shouted ‘Ian McEwen’ at me from behind a wall. I didn’t mind as they weren’t far off - Ian McEwen is a writer. The whole thing was a great day out.”