Plant sale for hospice breaks the record books again

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A record amount of almost £10,000 has been raised at an annual plant sale held in Markyate.

The 19th event has raised a whopping £9,836 for Berkhamsted charity The Hospice of St Francis – beating last year’s total by more than £320.

The sale held in May of over 7,000 plants to more than 700 green-fingered visitors will help the hospice to edge closer to the £4.8m it needs every year to provide free, specialist care for people facing life-limiting illness throughout Herts and Bucks.

Ian Bradley, event organiser, is delighted with the funds raised and said: “We managed to reach a very wide audience through Facebook, Twitter, print and radio, the rain held off and everyone who came was in a buying mood.

“Thanks to our dedicated band of volunteers, we had over 50 varieties of high-quality plants for sale which were tended from plugs throughout the growing period in greenhouses kindly made available by Rothamsted Research.

“We sold over 130 of our ever popular pre-ordered hanging baskets and containers and with The Ionian Clarinet Quartet entertaining guests throughout the morning as they enjoyed freshly brewed tea and coffee and delicious homemade cakes and rolls, how could we not have a successful party?”

Amongst the guests at this year’s event were the Mayor of Dacorum, Cllr Robert McLean, Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning and Alison Woodhams, chair of trustees at the hospice.

Sarah Ajder, community fundraiser at the hospice, said: “I’m thrilled that the plant sale has broken all previous records – again! It’s a privilege to work with such a dedicated team of volunteers who love supporting the hospice as much as they do the plants that they grow to sell. The quality and range of plants was again outstanding.

“Ian and the whole Markyate plant sale team work so hard every year to make the event the success that it is and our heartfelt thanks go to them for everything they put into it to raise vital funds to enable our care to continue.

“Since the plant sale started in 1997, it has raised a total of over £74k for the hospice, which is remarkable. It’s marvelous that it continues to be a magnet for all discerning gardeners looking for top quality fare and a family fun day out.”

Ian added: “It’s such a pleasure working with such a great bunch of people for such a worthwhile cause. Next year will be the sale’s 20th anniversary and of course we hope it will break even more records!”

Visit www.stfrancis.org.uk