This year the Markyate Plant Sale broke all previous records and raised nearly £12,000 for The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted. A fantastic achievement and particularly satisfying as this year the sale was celebrating the Hospice’s 40th Birthday.
A delighted Ian Bradley, event organiser, said: “Thanks to our dedicated band of volunteers we had 7,000 high-quality bedding plants for sale which were tended from plugs in greenhouses kindly made available by Rothamsted Research. We also had a wider selection of perennials and shrubs than ever before.
“The sale, on the 18th May, attracted hundreds of enthusiastic gardeners, everyone was in a buying mood and except for a short shower the rain held off. We sold dozens of our ever popular hanging baskets and containers, had some great raffle prizes and with The Gentle Jazzers to entertain guests while they enjoyed freshly brewed tea and coffee and delicious homemade cakes and rolls, how could we not have a successful party?”
Sarah Wills from Markyate, said: “We try to come every year. This year we’re just looking for lots of colour for the patio. It’s fantastic – just seeing how much work goes into planting and organising it all is amazing and it’s for a really good cause.” Her husband Rob, added: “I leave the gardening to Sarah – it’s the delicious cake I come for!”
Amongst the guests supporting this year’s event were the Mayor of Dacorum, Councillor Terry Douris, Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP and Markyate resident and Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami with his wife Hetti and family. Hospice CEO Kate Phipps-Wiltshire was there with members of the Board of Trustees, including Alison Woodhams, Sarah Byrt, Tracy Moores, Tim Symington and Mark Hampton.
The proceeds from the sale will contribute to the over £5m the Hospice needs every year to provide free, specialist care for people affected by life-limiting illness throughout Herts and Bucks.
Kate Phipps-Wiltshire, Hospice CEO, said: “I’m thrilled that the Plant Sale has broken previous records – again! It’s a privilege to know such a dedicated team of volunteers who work so hard to make the event a success and our heartfelt thanks go to them for everything they put into it.
“The Markyate Plant Sale has held a special place in the hospice’s annual calendar for over 22 years and has helped by spreading awareness of our work and generating vitally needed funds. In the next 10 years, the hospice estimate that more than 4,000 people every year will need to rely on us, twice as many as currently, and we will put our faith in communities such as Markyate to support us.
“Since the Plant Sale started in 1997, it has raised over £106,500 for the Hospice, which is remarkable and this wonderful event is now a well established date in the calendar for discerning gardeners and keen amateurs looking for top quality plants and a fun family day out.”
Ian Bradley added: “It’s such a pleasure working with such a great bunch of people for such a worthwhile cause.”