By Mick Jensen
Neighbours in a quiet corner of Tinwald enjoy twice yearly gatherings where they share stories, food and take part in a friendly tomato growing competition.
Sunday was the sixth event for the group, who live in houses along Nixon Street and Ferrier Place, and embrace and promote the spirit of good neighbours.
Around 40 had attended the first get-together in November 2016, said Nixon Street resident Julia Crosson.
She said people had been friendly, the banter had been good and that same environment continued today.
She said the first gathering has also included the idea of an annual tomato growing challenge.
The winner of the first challenge the following April had been Bruce Gare and seeds from his winning tomatoes had been saved, raised and given out to neighbours,” she said.
“Bruce is no longer with us, but we remember him every April when we host the Bruce Gare Memorial Tomato Growing Competition, when neighbours compare and show off their tomatoes.”
Mrs Crosson said Mr Gare had embodied the neighbourly spirit.
He was often seen wandering around the neighbourhood in his socks and with a cup of tea in his hand.
He generously provided neighbours with excess goodies from his garden or lent a hand on projects, using his practical skills.
Mrs Crosson said biannual neighbour gatherings were easy to organise, were always relaxed affairs and featured a different mix of people each time.
“You just need to agree on a date and venue – it can be a nearby park or someone’s garden – drop a note in letter boxes asking people to bring a plate and drinks, and perhaps lay on games for children.
“It doesn’t matter if six or 46 turn up, because there is no obligation on people.”
She said her neighbourhood event usually ran from 5pm until 7pm on a Sunday, which was a good slot for most people.
“We know our neighbours by name these days, rather than by house number, which is how it should be really.”
Building a rapport with neighbours broke down barriers and also built community resilience, she said.