Emmerdale’s Jeff Hordley details how allotment ‘really helped’ wife Zoe Henry

Emmerdale’s Jeff Hordley details how allotment ‘really helped’ wife Zoe Henry

Emmerdale's Jeff Hordley says allotment 'really helped' in lockdown

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Jeff, who has become famous as Emmerdale bad boy Cain Dingle over the past 20 years, married Zoe, who plays Rhona Goskirk on the ITV soap in 2003. The couple have gone on to build a life together in Yorkshire, settling down in a countryside cottage with their two children and dogs. Due to how much they have to film, the family don’t always get to spend a huge amount of time as a foursome but the coronavirus pandemic benefited them hugely as they worked on an allotment.

The couple have both been very vocal about their allotment, speaking in multiple interviews about turning to it for solace during the lockdowns between 2020 and 2021.

Two years after they started on it, the allotment continues to flourish, with the family often using offerings they’ve grown in their meals.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Jeff explained how it allowed him and Zoe to have some much needed time together, given their career means they do cross like ships in the night.

“During the whole Covid lockdowns, it’s like a two-minute walk from my house, it really helped Zoe and I,” the soap star said.

“And the dogs came up with us and the children came up with us and getting your hands in the earth, it’s so good for your mental health.”

“Just watching something grow is such a positive experience because it reaffirms life,” he added, touching on more of the benefits working on the allotment gave the family.

On the show, an allotment has started to become one of the regular sets where the characters are seen talking about their everyday lives.

Cain often pops down, with the father of four making a trip to the allotment to spend some time with his mother, Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter) and son Kyle Winchester (Huey Quinn).

However, unlike the enjoyment he gets from the allotment off-screen, Jeff’s alter-ego wasn’t too happy when he discovered his mother was having a moment of passion with Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) in the allotment shed.

Therefore, it seems Jeff will have to make do with growing fruit and vegetables at home with Zoe in the future.

Reaffirms life

Jeff Hordley

Back in 2020, the couple even got to feature in an episode of Celebrity Supply Teacher on the CBBC website where they showed viewers how to grow some produce of their own.

In the 10-minute episode, they encouraged children and teenagers to think about what they are eating as well, to give the show an educational aspect.

They thought about what fruit and vegetables they could grow to make a healthy and delicious lunch.

Instead of a film crew following them, they filmed the entire instalment themselves from their home and offered alternative ways of growing produce.

For families who might not have any outdoor space, they explained how they could still grow some tomatoes and basil inside.

Not only has the allotment allowed them to spend some quality time together but it has also helped the couple with their nutrition.

Jeff lives with Crohn’s Disease and was diagnosed with the condition at 18-years-old but growing his own fruit and vegetables has helped to alleviate his symptoms.

Speaking about the benefits for her husband, Zoe said: “We have an allotment and it’s so therapeutic to have your hands in the earth.

“We’re mindful of what we eat, but watching our diet isn’t about being on TV, it’s more about general well-being, as Jeff has Crohn’s disease,” she told Fabulous Magazine.

In another interview with Digital Spy, she added: “There’s a lot to be said about mental health and having your hands in the soil – that’s a big one for me.”

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“For Jeff, it’s the health benefits of eating what we’ve grown,” she explained.

The Cain Dingle star talked about some of the issues he faced with his allotment as he discussed the issue in an interview on Loose Women.

Presenter Janet Street-Porter asked: “You’ve been boasting a bit about your allotment and obviously lockdown, when you weren’t acting, you’ve had plenty of time to get on your allotment.

“I have taken to walking past people’s allotments and just seeing what progress they’re making and it’s always heartbreaking when you go past a really good allotment.

“I want to weep, I’ve planted my runner beans twice and each time they get to a certain height and then something’s eating them, have you had the same trouble?”

Jeff replied: “Yes, we’ve lost courgettes due to the frosts because there were some frosts in May.

“But my ruling with vegetables is two for me and one for nature, be it a bird or be it the weather.

“Mice are pests and pigeons are pests and we’ve lost some courgettes but our runner beans have been fine so I’m one up there on you, Janet.

“Because where we live we get mice in our house and we have humane little mouse traps and often we get these little mice and sometimes they’re so cute we want to keep them.

“But obviously we’re not going to do that so we release them back into the wild so I would be more on the Buddhist kind of side.”

Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7:30pm on ITV, with an hour-long episode airing on Thursdays.

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