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'Fascist' flower bed causes consternation

With colleges up and down the land struggling to get the recognition they deserve from those outside the world of FE, FErret can't help but feel that Weston College has missed out on what could have been a PR triumph.

The college's home town, Weston-super-Mare, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week when it emerged that it has been infiltrated by neo-Nazis. Well, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration, but some residents were certainly less than happy when they spotted that a civic flowerbed had apparently been grown in the shape of a swastika.

North Somerset Council insisted that the display, which has since been removed, had been accidentally formed when some flowers were removed, with gardeners leaving just the blue centaurea perennials "to give the bed a splash of winter colour".

"After we had a call about the pattern, we have taken all the plants out. They are due to be replaced soon with sustainable planting and a sculpture designed by students from Weston College," a spokesman said.

Surely this should have been a prime opportunity for Weston College to boost its inclusive, anti-fascist credentials? FErret can see the headline already: "FE fixes fascist floral fiasco". A wasted opportunity.

And the prize for oddest award title goes to...

On the theme of gardening, kudos to Plumpton College in East Sussex for launching what must be one of the most bizarre-sounding awards FErret has encountered: the Royal Forestry Society's Silky Fox Handsaws Awards.

From this somewhat unwieldy title, one could be forgiven for surmising that the awards were created to celebrate the under-reported pastime of chopping up glossy-coated mammals in the woods with a hacksaw. But, thankfully, they simply "recognise outstanding students on courses with a strong practical arboriculture or woodland management element".

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Silky Fox Handsaws is a company specialising in, er, small saws. Glad we got that cleared up.

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