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Over 70 people from garden retailers, suppliers and manufacturers walked a sponsored 10 or 20-mile circuit through the Buckinghamshire countryside on the annual Garden Re-Leaf Walk. Starting and ending at World’s End Garden Centre in Wendover, the participants were put through their paces on a gruelling walk in the very muddy Chiltern hills. Teams from Vitax, Elho, Mr Fothergill’s, Glee, Hornby Whitefoot PR, GIMA, Briers, HTA, Cadix, Kew Green Hotels and many others donned their walking boots for the scenic route, taking in some stunning sights, including Coombe Hill and a section of the historic Ridgeway.
A special shout out must go to Greenfingers Charity Vice-Chairman Dennis Espley who was the first to cross the finish line following his 10-mile walk. Special thanks to Mr Fothergill’s who raised just over £3000 for the walk and the cycle challenge through Just Giving, meanwhile the Glee team raised just over £800 through cakes sales, serving up breakfast for colleagues and other fundraising activities in their office.
The team at Hornby Whitefoot PR raised £725 with a mention to Robbie Cumming who livestreamed parts of the walk on his YouTube channel, encouraging many of his 5,500 narrowboat subscribers to donate, whilst the staff at HTA raised a huge £1,200. GIMA’s Vicky Nuttall and her trusty companion Ruby the dog raised an impressive £600.
Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge
This year saw the inaugural Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge with 15 intrepid bike enthusiasts taking on the endurance test of 50 or 100 miles. Matt Jackson from Mr Fothergill’s was first across the finish line having completed the 100 miles route. Ian Clark from Taylor’s Bulbs completed his 100 miles in an impressive seven hours, raising over £400. A massive well done must also go to Chris Ramsden from Hozelock who cycled the full distance of 100 miles, the first time he has cycled that far.
As if cycling 100 miles wasn’t tough enough, the inspiring Tara Truman from Briers also completed a 2.4-mile swim and 13 miles on the treadmill to raise money for Garden Re-Leaf.
Hillview Group CEO and Garden Re-Leaf founder Boyd Douglas-Davies set all 11 of his stores a challenge for this year’s Plantation – to plant 101 plants in 12 hours. Totalling an impressive 1,111 pots, £1 from every planter sold will go to Greenfingers.
The staff at Squire’s Garden Centres in Woking got their hands dirty, potting over 500 lovely, bright and cheerful spring plants for Garden Re-Leaf, as well as their opening weekend. There was also a guest appearance by gardening expert and presenter Charlie Dimmock who also helped to plant her own containers in aid of Greenfingers.
Bob Hewitt’s Klondyke held 12-hour Plantathons in six of their stores with the sales of potted containers donated to Greenfingers. The garden centres also raised money in their restaurants throughout the day.
A special thanks to Apta and many other suppliers who supported the Plantathons around the country by supplying pots, plants and compost to create enticing containers for customers and bright spring colour for Garden Re-Leaf.
Garden Centre Events
Many garden centres got quizzical for Garden Re-Leaf Day with Poplars Garden Centre raising over £1,600 from their evening, masterminds at Perrywood Garden Centre raised over £1,600 whilst all monies from general knowledge experts at Altons Garden Centre totalled £450. Tates Paradise Park held a garden quiz for local gardening clubs, as well as an auction of flower arrangements made by a local floristry group and selling special Garden Re-Leaf Day cupcakes in the coffee shop. Old Railway Garden Centre raised a spectacular £1,000 for Greenfingers during their Garden Re-Leaf Fundraising Day and Quiz and Curry Night.
Cakes and coffee were in high demand at garden centres such as Whitehall Lacock, Whitchurch and Woodborough who donated £1 from every hot drink and cupcake sold in their restaurants. The staff at Mr Fothergill’s head office baked green cakes to sell, meanwhile Haskins held staff cake sales at Snow Hill, at their HQ in Ferndown and at their West End store. Downtown Garden Centre and A.H.S Ltd also produced their best bakes to raise money for c.
Raffles and tombola’s proved popular with both garden retailers and customers. Many were held across the country including Pondkeeper who held a raffle in their Billingham based shop to win pond planting goodies. Aylett’s Nurseries held a tombola and coffee morning instore, whilst in Wales, the Old Railway Garden Centre hosted an exciting raffle for customers and a fundraising curry night. Lucky shoppers at World’s End Garden Centre were treated to a raffle where they could win a barbecue donated by Outback Direct.
Millbrook’s centres in Staplehurst, Gravesend and Crowborough all held fundraising events over the Garden Re-Leaf weekend which included crowd-pleasing activities such as face painting, crafts, special animal guests, a ‘Char-i-Tea’ morning, planting demonstrations and a talk from their Managing Director, Tammy Woodhouse and Greenfingers Ambassador, Mark Lane.
Regional sponsored walks were organised for those that couldn’t get to Wendover. Orchard Park staff walked approximately 15 miles to Lakeside Garden Centre in Warminster. Once they arrived, Managing Director Richard Cumming threw down the gauntlet or “glovie” for Lakeside to walk to them next year which has been accepted by the owner, Nick Morgan.
The Hozelock team completed a sponsored 10km walk through the beautiful surroundings of Sutton Park, a national nature reserve close to their Birmingham site.
Longacres fun day and sponsored walk which started at Shepperton and finished at Bagshot with a pit stop at their Chobham branch was such a great success that they plan to share their walk for others who may want to organise their own sponsored walk next year.
Manufacturers and suppliers gave their full support to Garden Re-Leaf. Rolawn donated £5 for every bulk bag of Beds & Borders Topsoil purchased on their website on the day and during the following week.
Garden Innovations also sold charity packs of their best-selling Bottle Top Waterers. Inspired by the fun and bright colours and positive outlook of Garden Re-Leaf Day, a donation of 37p per charity pack sold went to Greenfingers.
QVC The Garden Re-Leaf fundraising and awareness continued over the weekend with a special QVC Gardening Show on Sunday which raised a staggering over £32,000 through the sales of plants, bulbs and garden sundries. Richard Jackson presented an exclusive programme on the channel with help from generous suppliers De Jager Bulbs, Marshalls, Hayloft Plants, Plants2Gardens, Montrose, Thompson & Morgan and Richard Jackson’s Garden.
Kew Green Hotels The ever supportive and enthusiastic teams at Kew Green Hotels put the FUN into fundraising by “c”, with staff turning their hotels green across the country. Many competed for the coveted Best Costume prize which was won by Emma Harding for her Crayola outfit. Other branches held raffles, cake sales and had donation buckets in public areas. Staff and members at the Holiday Inn Leeds Brighouse will completed an epic 12-hour Bikeathon.
Head of Fundraising and Communications Linda Petrons said:
“We can’t thank our FUNdraising heroes and sponsors enough for supporting Garden Re-Leaf Day in such a great way again despite the pressures we know so businesses are under this year. The generosity from so many will help to ensure more children and families who spend time in hospices will benefit from a magical garden thanks to the money raised.”