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The childhood tragedy that haunts BBC NI gardening expert Diarmuid Gavin

As his new BBC One NI gardening programme airs, Weekend magazine columnist Diarmuid Gavin tells Leona O'Neill about the impact a family tragedy had on his life and how he was moved by a special Co Antrim woman who appears on his programme

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Diarmuid in his garden at home in Bray, Co Wicklow

Diarmuid in his garden at home in Bray, Co Wicklow

Nichola McGregor and her late partner Arnie Clark

Nichola McGregor and her late partner Arnie Clark

Rachel Kelly’s Drumbo garden features in the new programme Gardening Together

Rachel Kelly’s Drumbo garden features in the new programme Gardening Together

Diarmuid in his garden at home in Bray, Co Wicklow

Viewers in Northern Ireland this week got to watch gardening guru Diarmuid Gavin on his mission to help people build outdoor havens amidst the chaos of the coronavirus.

But many will be unaware that he himself has found great solace and healing in nature after a horrific childhood tragedy. The 56-year-old, who lives in Wicklow with his wife Justine and their daughter Eppie (15), is the presenter of new BBC One NI show Gardening Together, which traverses the countyside, north and south, stopping off in Belfast, Antrim and Down as well as Dublin, Wicklow and Howth.

And one of the most poignant stories featured is that of Nichola McGregor, from Co Antrim, whose partner Arnie drowned after entering a lake at Tollymore Forest Park in February this year to try and save their dog which had got into difficulties.