HELMETS were used as flower baskets as RAF Odiham scooped a gardening award.

The RAF station gained a “Thriving” rating in the South and South East in Bloom contest – the second highest in the It’s Your Neighbourhood category.

Squadron Leader Gary Bullard, chief-of-staff of the Base Support Wing, and Joe Lambley-Steel, a service community support officer at RAF Odiham, collected the award from BBC TV gardener Chris Collins.

Sqn Ldr Bullard told The Gazette: “We were very pleased. It’s a reflection of the hard work we put in over the last year. We have got our sights set on the next standard up.”

Initiatives at the RAF station included an allotment patch, flowers around the nursery in Churchill Avenue, and converting helicopter rotor boxes into flower beds.

Personnel from the base and their families volunteered their time to plant the flowers.

Sqn Ldr Bullard said: “It makes the base a more pleasant and welcoming working environment for us.”

Peter Holman, chairman of South and South East In Bloom, said the competition was not just about hanging baskets. He said: “We’re more interested in the environment and the work of communities.”