Fundraising gardeners have refused to let lockdown get in the way of raising thousands of pounds for a local hospice.
Thetford Open Gardens event, which should have taken place late last month, was unable to proceed as planned this year, but that didn’t stop the group from raising more than £4,500 for St Nicholas Hospice Care.
Unable to throw open their gates and show off their blooming green spaces, the group have been holding plant sales, supporting the charity’s Virtual Gardens programme with photos, videos and blogs, holding their own virtual event and a cake sale.
One of the organisers Rachel Woods said: “We realised early on that we wouldn’t be able to hold Thetford Open Gardens in the usual way, we did have an open-air plant sale booked in May, but it wasn’t possible for it to go ahead.
“However we were determined to still raise funds for the hospice. The most we thought we would be able to raise would be a few thousand pounds, so to have surpassed what we actually raised in our first year is fantastic.
“Sue (Sue Norman fellow committee member) said she would be happy to sell plants outside of her Arlington Way home a steady stream of funds started coming in. We also had so many people contribute plants they had grown to the sale, people have been so generous and I think they were even more so once they realised it was for the hospice.”
Sue also put her baking talents to good use and baked more than 70 cakes for the Thetford Open Gardens cake sale, which took place on June 28, the day the open gardens were scheduled to have taken place.
Thetford Open Gardens are keen to keep raising funds for the charity which supports people from across West Suffolk and Thetford facing dying, caring and grief, and the team are hopeful pop up gardens will be able to open in the Autumn, but that will depend on government guidelines.
Hospice community fundraiser, Miranda McCoy, said: “I would like to thank all the Thetford Open Garden Committee and the Thetford supporters who have somehow managed to raise more than £4,300 this year. By selling mountains of cakes and the use of an honesty box for donations for plants they have raised this brilliant amount. It is a mild understatement to say this year has not gone to plan but their indomitable spirit has just kept their fundraising going in the most difficult of circumstances.
“I am truly touched and amazed at the kindness of all St Nic’s supporters and can only say thank you so much as their support makes a huge difference to the hospice and the continuation of all our services.”