On Sunday 23 June, the ninth Ferring Norland Open Gardens took place, raising £6,489 for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice – the highest amount raised by the event since it started.
Conceptualised by Ferring Norland residents, Joy and Thelma, in 2006, the Open Gardens have raised an incredible £31,693 to date – enough to pay for over four and a half days of all care services provided by Chestnut Tree House, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes across Sussex and South East Hampshire.
13 years since first thinking of the idea after visiting another open garden event, Joy, now with her new organiser partner, Janet, have been working with a core team of residents to put on their popular Open Gardens in Ferring Norland every two years. 20 gardens were open to the public on Sunday 23 June, along Langbury Lane, Highdown Way, Cissbury Road, Downview Road, Downview Avenue and Orchard Close. Visitors were charged £3.50 to enter, which included a brightly coloured map designed by one of the residents, detailing the different gardens and activities.
In addition to the stunning gardens, there was a Super Raffle with over 130 prizes generously donated by local businesses and individuals, as well as a tombola, games, crafts, refreshment stalls, a BBQ, and vintage bike and car displays.
There was also dancing and music to entertain visitors, all provided free of charge by the acts. Popular dance group Eight Beat Jive wowed the crowds with their lively retro dancing on the driveway of 1 Downview Road, while the amazing 4 in a Bar Barbershop Quartet walked around mingling and singing with visitors and garden owners. Performers from Keenes Dance Studio in Worthing gave visitors a tantalising taste of their fabulous and fun dancing styles, and Worthing Rock Choir sang their hearts out in Cissbury Road.
Town Crier Bob Smytherman provided his time, voice and cheer, and also helped by drawing the winners of the Super Raffle. Organised and run by resident Will, who managed to achieve the largest number of raffle prizes ever witnessed at the event, the Super Raffle raised an incredible £1,600 towards the fundraising total.
Joy and Janet said: “It has been great fun over the years coordinating the Open Gardens event. We are delighted that it has raised so much money to help Chestnut Tree House with their work, as well as bringing about a real community spirit.”
2019 was Joy and Janet’s last Open Gardens event, as they have decided to retire. But they have handed over the reins to younger residents, James and Sam, who have kindly offered to oversee the Ferring Norland Open Gardens 2021.
Caroline Roberts-Quigley, Community Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said: “We are extremely grateful to Joy and Janet for all their hard work. The Ferring Norland Open Gardens event has been an amazing success since it first started, raising an incredible amount over the years. We need to raise £6,850 every day to pay for all our specialist care services, so this year’s event alone raised enough to pay for almost a whole day of Chestnut Tree House’s care. Without supporters like this, we simply wouldn’t be able to continue helping local children with life-shortening conditions and their families, so I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved.”
Chestnut Tree House provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this service is over £3.9 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 6% central government funding so relies on the generosity and support of the community to continue providing vital care to local children and families.
To learn more about Chestnut Tree House, visit here