On Sunday 2nd July, seven gardeners will be opening their gardens to the public to raise money for Havens Hospices in the charity’s first Open Gardens event. The route will take visitors through Rochford to Hawkwell. The event is being officially opened by the Chairman of Rochford District Council, Cllr Mrs Lesley Butcher at 10am at one of the gardens on the trail - St Luke’s Place on Dalys Road, Rochford.
For £5 per person, visitors get access to all seven gardens on the trail and can visit the gardens in any order they would like, but are encouraged to finish the day at Riverside Nursery who will be holding a prize draw and raffle as detailed in the programmes. The gardens include St Luke’s Place, Jean Abbott’s in Ashingdon and Heather and Harry Brickwood’s in Hockley.
Jean a nurse will be opening her garden on Stanley Road and also holding a book stall, tombola and a refreshment stall with tea, coffee and cakes to raise vital funds for Havens Hospices.
“I’m at the age where I don’t want to do a marathon or a challenging event, but I have been lucky in life so I wanted to be give something back and help a charity that I know is vitally important in the community
“I’ve known many people over the years that have used Havens Hospices through working at the hospital and I get to see how important it is for the patients and their loved ones. My Mum died from lung cancer seven years ago and she was using the charity’s Hospice at Home service, which was just wonderful, they gave her all the care and support she would have received in a hospice in the comfort of her own home, the nurses really made a massive difference to her quality of life in a last few weeks.”
Harry and his wife Heather have always been very passionate about gardening. Heather is a qualified horticultural judge and Harry gives lectures on horticulture and gardening. Harry was a member of a gardening club and was awarded ‘Gold’ at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with them. Harry’s private garden was featured in a countdown of the country’s best gardens by Alan Titchmarsh.
“When we were asked if we would like to support Havens Hospices by opening our garden we didn’t hesitate. The hospices are so important for our community, the work they do is amazing, and they care and support hundreds of families across Essex for free. They do not charge anything for the care they give and can only do this because of donations and fundraising events like this. We are thrilled to be opening our garden to raise money for the hospices, what better reason could there be to open it.”
St Luke’s Place in Rochford is opening not only the communal gardens, but also the personal plots of their residents.
David DeSouzza, Services Coordinator at St Luke’s Place, commented,
“We wanted to get involved with this event because Havens Hospices is so important for the local community and we wanted the St Luke’s Place family to help both Little Havens Hospice and Fair Havens Hospice continue ‘making every day count’ for families across the area."
St Luke’s Place’s residents’ husband and wife, Bert (88) and Tess (84) know first-hand the important work that Havens Hospices does and are keen to give back by opening their garden.
“We were in hell really, Bert had his surgery and was still poorly, my sight was starting to go and we were living in a top flat. We were put in touch with Fair Havens Hospice last year and they helped get us in to St Luke’s Place. We are so grateful to the hospice for the support they provided us with and how quickly they helped us to get into this new accommodation; after waiting for help for years!
“Being able to get out in the garden has really lifted Bert’s mood, he loves gardening and has already made this garden his own in the short time we’ve been here. We’re really looking forward to raising money for the charity that helped us feel happy again.”
If you would like to explore the fantastic gardens on the day, you can buy your programmes, priced at £5 per person, in advance. For more details about the day and to find out where you can buy your programme click here.