Gardens event boosts hospice

The first Willington open gardens, in aid of Sue Ryder St John's Hospice, was such a success that visitors were left calling for the event to return next year.

Sprite Photography
Sprite Photography

More than 110 people explored five of the village’s beautiful gardens, including the grounds of Willington Manor, and helped raise £1,162 which could pay for a syringe driver to give constant pain relief for patients and a hospice nurse for a day.

Diane Bush organised the event as a thank you to the hospice which cared for her husband Jack last year through the Partnership for Excellence in Palliative Support (PEPS) before he was admitted to the hospice where he sadly died in December.

Diane, from Great Barford, said: “My husband was cared for by PEPS and hospice at home nurses for six weeks and spent his last four days at the hospice over Christmas 2016.

“I just wanted to give something back for all the amazing help he and I received.”

Having chosen to support Sue Ryder St John’s, Diane arranged the open gardens and was delighted with how her first fundraising event ran.

She said: “It was an amazing open gardens and people seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day and even asked if we’d run it again next year.

“I was hoping the weather was fine, it was, and overall everything came together on the day.

“I’m thankful to all the volunteers who helped and to the five home-owners who opened their gardens for us.

“There was live music, cream teas, cakes, jams and Willington honey on sale.”

The Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice head of fundraising Cath Cole said: “Many thanks to Diane and her team for putting on the Willington open gardens event to support us.

“Our supporters are crucial in helping us to fundraise towards the £1.4million we need to raise to continue to provide incredible care this year.

“We are delighted with the success of the Willington Open Gardens.”

If you have been inspired by Diane’s story to fundraise for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, visit for ideas of how you can help.