AMBERLEY GARDENS OPEN BREAKS ALL RECORDS

£15,000 was raised for Action Medical Research. 

 “This is the most amazing amount and far exceeds that of previous years".


The day was perfect - sunny, but not too hot. Well before the official opening time of 12 noon on Sunday, 10th June, visitors began to arrive in Amberley, eager to begin their tour of 19 village gardens , whose owners had worked their socks off trimming, weeding and mowing to present their gardens to perfection.

The first car park was full by 12.30, as some 500 cars piled into the village. Fortunately, a second field was available to accommodate the flood of visiting vehicles. Some 1,500 people paid their £6 for entry into the gardens – an absolute bargain for an afternoon of total horticultural delight.

Both the Parish Hall and Amberley School hall were open, serving tasty lunches and delicious teas and cake to sustain the crowd engaged in the thirsty business of pursuing the garden trail, and the plant stall did a roaring trade. The tombola added extra interest, as did the raffle for a beautiful hand-made patchwork quilt, sewn by a village resident.

In one garden, a local craftsperson busily demonstrated the art of willow sculpture, producing a veritable swarm of beautiful dragonflies, while in another, two talented young musicians played their violins to serenade visitors.

The bottom line? An astonishing £15,000 was raised for Action Medical Research, the Horsham-based charity which funds research into life-threatening disorders affecting children. “This is the most amazing amount and far exceeds that of previous years,” say AGO organisers, Jacqui Feakins and Suzie Coates, who extend a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who contributed to the success of the event. St Michael’s church and Amberley C of E Primary School are also to receive donations.

Amberley Gardens Open is a biennial event for which 2018 is a very special anniversary. It was 30 years ago that Amberley residents, Mary Leonard and the late Marylou Barclay decided to open their own gardens in aid of what was then called Action Research for the Crippled Child, a charity founded by another Amberley resident, the late Dr Duncan Guthrie. That event raised a few hundred pounds. 30 years on, it has evolved into an occasion which involves just about everyone in the village in one role or another and its popularity seems to show no bounds.

As visitors left the village, they thanked the organisers for a splendid afternoon and commented on its friendly atmosphere.