A busy summer for Pooh helps the hospice

mpic pooh'Monica Ridley Trustee of Chestnut Tree House with Pooh aka Mary Reed and paul Reed on left and Chairman of Findon Garden Association
mpic pooh'Monica Ridley Trustee of Chestnut Tree House with Pooh aka Mary Reed and paul Reed on left and Chairman of Findon Garden Association

It was meant to be a one-off event when Pooh House at Fittleworth opened to the public in aid of the Chestnut Tree Hospice in May.

But as Paul and Mary Reed celebrated their 25th anniversary at the house, they felt it gave them a good excuse to extend the opening with five events throughout the summer for the good cause.

And the final event of the year will be the opening to the public for a last autumn session on September 24 and 25.

After the success of the spring opening on May 22, the ‘School Holiday Sundays’ campaign was devised with Janet Parsons, head of communications at Chestnut Tree House, and homeowners Paul and Mary Reed who were looking for ways to celebrate their silver anniversary at Pooh House.

“It was a big ask of many helpers to extend the spring launch over the summer school holidays,” said Mr Reed. “But the idea was to try and triple the funds from one big earlier effort with five smaller campaigns that could appeal to as wide an audience as possible, from discerning gardeners to little ones who would love the trails.”

Mrs Reed added: “The fun of Pooh and his chums was then created with live displays for themed Sundays and so Owl (Huxley bird of prey), Piglet (Ledda Farm), Eeyore (Sue Perry), Rabbit (Aldingbourne Open Farm) and Tigger (Jungle Queen Toyger Cat) Sundays were conceived.”

The extended opening programme has boosted funds from the £450 raised back in May at the single event to more than £1,750 as the season draws to a close.

“It’s a terrific achievement,” said Mrs Parsons from the Chestnut Tree Hospice. “With the hospice receiving only nine per cent of its funding from the government, it relies heavily on the generosity of members of the public to raise the rest.

“In these circumstances, everyone coming together like this – helpers, campaigners, many of our own staff and volunteer specialists, like Huxley Bird of Prey – it’s inspirational.”

For details of the autumn opening on September 24 and 25, see www.poohhouseandgardens.com