Open garden day at Belstone, Okehampton, raises funds for Mary Budding Trust in Tavistock

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By PGStrange | Thursday, May 09, 2013, 08:47

AN OPEN garden day - held recently at Belstone, Okehampton - raised around £175 for Tavistock-based charity The Mary Budding Trust. It was one of a number of Open Garden days that the Trust - which supports children with special needs aged 11 or under in West Devon - is holding this year….

Despite squally weather on the day, there were some sunny periods to savour at Robin and Edwina Hill's house at Belstone. The garden's high moorland setting proved stunning, with beautiful spring flowers and delicious cream teas to enjoy, and plants to buy.

"The weather wasn't as good as we hoped," said Edwina. "We had hoped to get more people, but it was a very happy day and everybody that came thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were very positive about both the garden and the charitable cause."

"When we were driving up and it was pouring with rain, we thought that this was going to be a disaster," said Anthony Wates, a trustee for the Mary Budding Trust. "But the sun has come out. It's really warm and people are coming. Not in their thousands, but in their ones and twos, and they have obviously enjoyed themselves.

"It is a very friendly garden, because it's full of nooks and crannies and places to go and hide and the children love it! Edwina's cakes and scones are absolutely delicious. People come just for that!

"We've just had some people come in who have been walking on Dartmoor all morning and came down here - not to see the garden - but to have the tea and cake, which is nice!"

Special needs

The Mary Budding Trust was named after the late Dr Mary Budding, the District Medical Officer of Health for Tavistock and District, who recognised that there was little structured support for young children in West Devon with special needs.

Set up in 1999 by Anthony Wates - a former head teacher of Tavistock Community Primary School - and the late Robin Fenner - mayor of Tavistock, 1984-85 - the Trust became a charity in 2002. Funded by donations, it supports West Devon childen, under the age of 11, who have special needs, giving their parents grants and equipment. In making decisions, the Trustees say that they aim "to give the children a full and rich life and provide opportunities which might not be available without extra financial support".

The Trust's recent work includes helping to fund specialist equipment for the Okehampton Area Schools Multi-Sensory Room and Garden. Grants have also been given towards the cost of mobility equipment, computers, toys and other apparatus. 

Raising money

"It's always difficult to find ways of raising money because you're in competition with many other local charities, so it's nice when local people - such as Robin and Edwina here - open their gardens up for the Trust," said Anthony. "We're always seeking ways to help the children in West Devon who have some very difficult special needs, needing equipment for wheelchairs, or a lift to take them up and down stairs."

All proceeds from the day went to the Trust.

"We're a very small charity and so we can't do vast great things," said Anthony, "but we can do the little things that matter."

Future events

Future open garden events for the Mary Budding Trust include:

Tuesday 28 May, 11am-5pm: Hotel Endsleigh Grounds, Gardens and Arboretum, Milton Abbot, Tavistock, PL19 0PQ. Admission £4, children free. "Amazing woodlands, river walk and herbaceous gardens," says the Trust. "Mature and special trees and shrubs make this a wonderful visit."

Sunday 7 July, 2.30pm-5pm: Lark Rise, Crapstone, Yelverton, PL20 7PF.  Home of David and Jenny Miles. Admission £3.50, children free. Light refreshments. "A plantsman's small village garden, stacked with specialist and well cared for plants."

Sunday 28 July 2pm-5pm: Taikoo, Belstone, Okehampton, EX20 1QZ. Home of Richard and Rosamund Bernays. Admission TBC. Homemade cream teas. "Three-acre hillside garden, recently extended to include heathers, grasses and moorland plants. Chinese and Himalayan roses and a wide range of mature shrubs. Magnificent views of Dartmoor; a wonderful Sunday afternoon outing."

Sunday 4 August, 2.30pm-5.30 pm: The Chantry, Marshall Close, Whitchurch, PL19 9RB. The home of Ian and Jan Gasper. Admission £2.50, children free. Light refreshments. "This is a delightful town garden, filled with interesting and attractive plants. A fine illustration of what can be done on a challenging and difficult site."

For more details about The Mary Budding Trust, go to:

More pix: Open Garden at Belstone for Mary Budding Trust



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