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St Clare Hospice launches Virtual Open Gardens event




More than 20 hidden horticultural havens will be revealed online to raise vital funds for St Clare Hospice.

The Hastingwood charity has hosted an open gardens event for 26 years, but the coronavirus outbreak has forced its horticultural festival to go ‘virtual’ for the first time ever, with supporters enjoying video tours from the comfort of their own homes.

Virtual Open Gardens event organiser Dan Bailey said: “We're thrilled to say that we have more than 20 gardens available to enjoy virtually, bringing the beauty of local gardens into the homes of our supporters.

Terry Mackay's garden (38142054)
Terry Mackay's garden (38142054)

"Our Open Garden participants, some of whom have been opening their gardens for us every summer for many years, were eager to embrace technology this year to make sure the event can still go ahead.

“A dedicated webpage has been created to host the walk-through garden tours, and it really does offer a captivating experience for lovers of all things fauna and flora to enjoy.”

The webpage will be available until the end of August. The hospice is asking for donations in return for the virtual experience.

One garden which has opened virtually is that of Terry Mackay. His son Dan, who took the photos, said: “Ordinarily, Open Gardens isn’t something that we would get involved in this much, but due to the innovative thinking of the fundraising team and the virtual nature of this year’s event, it's made it much easier to participate and help out with fundraising in a new way for St Clare.

“Our garden also has a strong link to the hospice. My mum, Barbara, was a patient at St Clare in December 2016 and after she passed away Dad decided that he would like to plant a memorial garden at home so that we would always have her close.

"We have a bronze leaf with mum’s name on it which once hung on St Clare’s Memory Tree, but has now been fixed to the cherry tree which was planted in 1977, the year my parents were married, and still has pride of place in the middle of the garden.”

The Virtual Open Gardens experience can be viewed here stclarehospice.org.uk/event/virtual-open-gardens-2020.


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