From The Growing Project, Pensilva

It is with immense sadness that The Growing Project announces the death of our beloved founder and co-ordinator, Ruth Wilson. She died on Wednesday 17th January after a long battle with cancer.

Although born in Plymouth, Ruth had a deep love and long history with Cornwall, living in St Germans and Menheniot in the 1980s. In 1998, she moved to Pensilva with her partner and a Dalmatian puppy who would escape her property with alarming regularity. Long-suffering neighbours would often help round up this miscreant, as well as the succession of spotties who joined the household later.

As was clear to anyone who met her, Ruth loved people. Her talent for listening to and engaging with people from every walk of life was what made her so very good at the work she did – community

development, counselling, foster caring and supporting, homing and advocating for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. While doing the latter, she discovered the therapeutic properties of getting people gardening – the sense of achievement, accomplishment and self-worth that the young people in her care gained from working alongside her in the garden sparked the idea that became The Growing Project.

While initially aimed at helping young people, it quickly became apparent that the appeal of the project was much wider. The project has helped and continues to help people who have been challenged by a range of life events as well as those who just relish the opportunity to connect with their community and get their hands in some dirt! On the morning of the day that Ruth passed away, this beautiful band of people had gathered to decide how to take the project forward and secure her legacy.

There’s no denying that this amazing woman leaves a large hole in every community of which she was part, including The Growing Project and south east Cornwall Constituency Labour Party, of which she was chair. But one of her most special talents was her ability as a leader to raise up, encourage and advocate for those around her. The wonderful and able people who follow in her footsteps are taking forward the work she started, be it the veg box scheme or the socialist revolution!

We love you, Ruth. ♥

Ruth Wilson December 19th 1952 – January 17th 2018 6

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