Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society

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In Memoriam

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our friend and colleague, Andrew Reid in April.

Andrew had been ill for a while, but carried on, with energy and vigour, for as long as he could.  

Our current Treasurer, Trevor Watson took over from Andrew last year and was keen to highlight Andrew’s contribution to SAGS.

He wrote:

“Several people asked me to pass on their regards to Andrew when they were renewing their membership, so he was clearly well known and held in high regard. He had been SAGS treasurer for around 15 years,  and proved to be a knowledgeable and willing advisor whenever I sought guidance as the new treasurer. His knowledge and enthusiasm will be sadly missed by the allotment growing community in Scotland”

The SAGS board has been inundated with messages of condolence. As an appropriate tribute, we called on former colleagues of his to give us their thoughts of Andrew; the man, the SAGS board member and the gardener… what a gem he was.

The SAGS Board

SAGS is governed by a Board of Trustees, elected by the members of the Society in annual elections. The Trustees have responsibility for the work of the Society and for ensuring it meets the requirements of a charity and its governance. 

The Board has been working on a change programme and, alongside the retirement of some veteran contributors, has added new members with experience and skills which will helps SAGS to deliver on its strategic goals to broaden and deepen its impact in support of allotmenteers and allotment groups. Individuals who are interested in the work of SAGS are welcome to apply for election to the Board. For more information contact [email protected] 

The Current Board

Derek Livesey, President

I love my allotment. It represents the things I like. It reflects who I am and what I think is important. It is my hobby, my safe space, my relaxation and my passion.  My wife Emma and I took over no. 65 at Merrylee Plots in Glasgow in early 2004.  It was a derelict mess then, but we have worked hard to get it into shape. We dig the ground and grow in time honoured fashion, with a few raised beds to help counter the damper conditions. We will occasionally try some new techniques, but are really traditionalists at heart. Our growing skills, horticultural knowledge and approach have developed through time, and despite still feeling quite inexperienced (compared to some) we do appreciate just how much we have grown ourselves.  As a hobby, having the plot has been a great way for Emma and I to share our spare time, together or individually.

I would like everybody to have an allotment opportunity, to discover a simpler way of life – but one that still requires care and attention and also provides many benefits for us and our local communities. From plot to plate, for us it’s all about good health, fitness, tasty fruit and veg and making friends. Getting our fingers in the soil is good for the soul. 

Richard Crawford, Vice President and acting secretary

I have been involved with gardening from a very young age. My grandfather had a large garden with an orchard, flower garden and vegetable plot of about a quarter of an acre where I learned about gardening. There are pictures of me at the age of two helping to push wheelbarrows and plant flowers and vegetables. 

I later joined my local allotment society where I became one of the office-bearers within a year or two. My love of growing my own food to benefit not only my immediate family but that of my wider family too sparked that same enjoyment with my children and, now my grandchildren. 

I am passionate in my belief that allotment space should be made available to more and more people for them to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of their labours. 

I have always been an active member of any allotment associations I have been involved with and this has led to me joining the SAGS board with a view to helping to create a more positive attitude within the government and local authorities to growing space, helping to improve physical and mental health and contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.



Trevor Watson, Treasurer

I have spent over thirty years in business management, including ten years as a company commercial director. I was a member-nominated trustee of the group pension scheme for thirteen years, director of a joint churches ecumenical youth initiative in the South-side of Glasgow and director of the Carron Valley Development Group responsible for planning, raising funds for and delivering mountain bike trails. As an Elder in my local church I am a trustee of that charity organisation, and during my twenty years as treasurer of the Stewardship & Projects committee I have overseen the raising and disbursing of several hundred-thousand pounds for partner charities, often building the relationships and making appeals for those causes personally.

In my leisure time I am also involved in Scouting, leading mountain bike and water-sport activity training, as well as being a director of the Glasgow Highland Club and a Personal Licence holder, able to authorise the sale of alcohol in Scotland.

As a champion of community, learning and social empowerment, I look forward to supporting the efforts of SAGS to combat food poverty through local growing initiatives and to assist socially marginalised groups in Scotland to enjoy fresh, healthy food sustainability. 

Julie Kilpatrick

I have been lucky enough to turn my passion for gardening into a career. I am a lecturer in horticulture at Glasgow Clyde College and edit an online gardening resource magazine, Gardenzine. I am also member of the Garden Media Guild and have written my first book, The Plant Listener. I trained in habitat surveying with the Scottish Wildlife Trust before running a landscape design and construction business. I spent two years as a home compost advisor, working with local authorities to encourage householders to compost.

My approach to gardening is firmly organic and holistic and I have a keen interest in encouraging bio-diversity, especially through the creation of urban wildlife corridors. As a home compost advisor, I was lucky enough to visit a number of allotments, community gardens and schools gardens.  It was my favourite part of the job and I witnessed the positive effect local allotments and gardens have on the community. I believe gardening, especially growing your own food, is strongly beneficial for mental health and there is no better way to do that, than in a thriving community space.