800 gardens open for National Gardens Festival Weekend

Categories: Community Engagement.

TV, radio presenter and all-round action girl Anneka Rice once again zipped up her legendary jumpsuit to relive her ‘Treasure Hunt’ days to promote the first-ever National Gardens Festival Weekend.

‘Challenge Anneka’ accomplished her garden-hopping mission with the help of her trusty helicopter making successful landings in five of the festival’s gardens (Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire) on Saturday.

Anneka has been a long-time supporter of the NGS and fondly remembers her parents opening their garden for charity via the scheme when she was a child. She said: “I still feel a pang in the middle of June as I remember when our house in the Cotswolds was open to the public – a band played on the lawn, teas being served from a bam, the garden a riot of reds and pinks, and the scent of roses hanging in the air. We’ve since sold the house, but I’m still an avid follower of the NGS. Openings all over the country provide a wonderful opportunity to spend the day with fellow garden lovers, gathering ideas and sharing experiences.”

David Praill, Chief Executive Officer of Help the Hospices, welcomed Anneka when she landed: “The launch of the National Gardens Festival Weekend was an astounding success thanks to the enthusiastic spirit and generosity of the great British public. We are as always extremely grateful to NGS’s continued support, which will help to ensure the very best hospice care for patients and their families.

“Gardens are very important for hospice patients and their families. Many of our member hospices have therapeutic gardens designed to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients as they play a key part in promoting wellbeing.”

Help the Hospices has been supported by the NGS since 1997. They are the largest supporter of Help the Hospices work and have donated over £2.6 million to support hospice care. This funding has supported a variety of programmes including training for hospice staff, equipment for delivering hospice care at home, and national projects supporting clinical excellence.

The NGS welcomes over 750,000 visitors to their open gardens across England and Wales during the summer. Most of the gardens which open for the NGS are privately owned and open just a few times a year, while others open as part of a group with the whole community involved. The gardens, who each charge a small donation for entry, give the money raised to the NGS who donate the funds to a small group of beneficiaries, including Help the Hospices.

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