Paul opened his garden to his local community, to raise money in memory of wife Chris. He explains why and how he did it.
"It started in early spring when I was just starting to do some heavy weeding and cutting back the previous year’s dead growth in Chris’s garden at home.
Since she died I have tried to keep it looking nice, as we both enjoyed creating it and working together in it, when we had the time. I have always felt quite close to Chris in the garden and it occurred to me 'why not use her garden to raise some money for our two favourite charities?'
The idea of a garden party quickly followed, together with how I would like it to look. What to serve? Do we have games? What if it is wet?
It was time to look for help! I am fortunate in having some close friends who were experienced in organising and running social events and so we set up a small committee and got to work. They were wonderful in coming up with ideas and how to put them into practice, as well as visiting a lot of local businesses seeking raffle and tombola prizes - people were generous in donating some high value prizes. The nagging question throughout the planning phase was; ‘how many people will come and what about the weather?’ We had no control over either! We managed however to borrow two gazebos and a small marquee which would help in the event of it being wet.
Publicity was important as I wanted it to be an open community event for all age groups. I had words with a clever friend who is a graphic designer and asked if he would produce a poster which captured the look and feel of the type of event I wanted and hey presto, he did. I was very pleased with the results and perhaps a little emotional as I saw on paper for the first time what I had been thinking about. What had been an idea was now actually happening!
I decided to hold the event on both Saturday and Sunday to give us a chance if we were rained off on one day. Thankfully the weather was kind on both days, enabling us to welcome around 250 people who enjoyed sipping tea whilst the children made dens and played games. We had a brilliant collection of home baked cakes and scones donated, which enabled us to have an impromptu cake stall on the Sunday. The proceeds from all the catering was a marvellous £960 and we raised over £900 with the raffle.
The total amount raised was £3,300 which was split between Target Ovarian Cancer and Children's Heart Surgery Fund.
It turned out to be very worthwhile doing and many thanks to all the people who contributed in making it such a success. I think Chris would have been pleased as well!"
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