Peter, 85, and his wife Julia, 81, end an extraordinary run of gardening success to raise £3,500 to support charities
PUBLISHED: 12:35 18 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:43 18 October 2020
An Ely couple in their eighties are finally hanging up their boots after raising more than £3,500 for the National Garden Scheme in their first year of opening in the city.
Peter Williams, 85, and his wife, Julia, 81, have held a plant sale in their Chapel Street driveway almost every day since mid-April, as well as opening their garden almost every week, and providing 56 teas in the garden during the scheme’s recent ‘Great British Garden Party week’ in September.
And their efforts didn’t stop there. No fundraising opportunity was passed by. When the gas company Triio closed off Chapel Street recently for works, £100 was soon on its way after Peter mentioned to them the inconvenience the lack of advance notice had caused.
The sum raised is the highest by any single garden or group in Cambridgeshire and one of the highest nationally.
Pam Bullivant, county organiser for the National Garden Scheme in Cambridgeshire, said: “This is an astonishing amount to have raised.
“It was a tremendous effort by Peter and Julia and we are completely in awe of what they’ve been able to achieve.
She added: “It means so much to us and to our nursing and caring beneficiaries, particularly in this most challenging of years.”
Mr Williams said: “We are both well and fit, and when you have a nice garden, it needs to be shared.
“This year we’ve been struck by the desperate situation the National Garden Scheme was faced with. In the very year when funds need to be raised for nurses and carers, lockdown prevented them from doing so.
“We thought we’d do what we could to make good once we were able to open. It’s been nice talking to all the visitors. It’s been a big chunk of our social life this year!
“And it’s the lovely people in and around Ely who need to be thanked as it’s their spending and donations that have helped raise these funds.”
Peter and Julia, a former nurse and health visitor, moved to Ely three years ago from Surrey, where they had previously opened their garden under the National Garden Scheme.
Funds raised through garden openings contribute to ‘Help Support our Nurses’ campaign. The scheme is, cumulatively, the largest donor to many charities it supports, including Macmillan Cancer and Marie Curie.
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