‘Grubby Gardeners’ complete epic 10 hour 7-seater cycle

Assistant Show Plant Manager for Hortus Loci and YoungHort Associate Director, Jamie Butterworth, celebrated his 21st birthday in unusual style on Sunday 6 September by leading a team of ‘Grubby Gardeners’ in a 7-seater sponsored cycle ride from London to Brighton for Perennial. The team cycled the 54 miles on a Platipus-sponsored bicycle travelling at an average speed of just over 5 miles an hour. So far the team has raised over £1,300 for Perennial’s Go Green for HortAid 2015 campaign – the total for which stands at almost £5,000 half way through the fortnight.

Speaking after the event, which he completed the day after taking part in the Nuts Challenge mud run for Perennial, Jamie Butterworth said,

“This weekend has been one of the most physically gruelling of my life – but also one of the most fun and memorable. The Nuts Challenge really tested my stamina and endurance and it was great to be doing it alongside team-mate Claire Vokins. The 7-seater cycle ride was another matter altogether though – ‘uncomfortable’ doesn’t even come close! But what a bunch of friends and colleagues to be riding with – we’re all so proud to have achieved a first for Perennial and are determined that our fundraising for Perennial will do the physical effort justice.”

Joining Jamie were: Claire Vokins (trainee garden designer who also completed the Nuts Challenge on Saturday 5 September), Andrew Wain (head gardener and seasoned ‘Grubby Gardener’), Darren Cavedaschi (MD of bike sponsors Platipus tree anchoring systems, who travelled back from Poland in order to take part), David Lewis (head gardener, garden designer and seasoned ‘Grubby Gardener’), Alec Jones (Landscape Management student at Sheffield University), and Rachel Havers (patisserie chef, food blogger and amateur gardener).

Also cycling the iconic London to Brighton route were some of the Three Peaks Extreme (3PE) team who first raised money for Perennial in 2013 when they climbed the UK’s three highest peaks and cycled between them. They raised over £26,000 for that first challenge and have set themselves a target of £2,000 this year with plans afoot for another challenge event in 2016.

Matt O’Conner, Managing Director of John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance and the coordinator of the 3PE team’s London to Brighton cycle, said,

“We’re really chuffed to have finished the London to Brighton event as a team – it took us just over 5 hours including a very leisurely lunch – and the support we had along the way was fantastic. We’ve raised over £600 now but are confident we’ll reach our target with a bit more persuasion! Perennial is a charity close to all of us and we’re proud to be fundraising for them again during this year’s Go Green fortnight.”

Joining Matt from the 3PE team were Darren Skidmore, co-owner of Skidmores of Hertford, Paul Downer, MD of Oakview Landscapes and Vice-Chair of BALI, James Downer (Paul’s son), Brian Herbert, MD of Outdoor Options, Richard Gardiner, MD of Norris & Gardiner (now part of Gavin Jones Group), Jim Brasier, of Jim Brasier Landscapes and Dan Riddleston, MD of Bowles & Wyers Contracts Ltd. You can donate by visiting their JustGiving fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/3PEL2B/

Anita Bates, Director of Marketing and Development at Perennial, said;

“We are in awe of the lengths our supporters go to in order to raise money and awareness of our trade charity. Without their dedication and determination to continue challenging themselves and others, we would not be able to offer the unrivalled range of services we provide to horticulturists across the UK struggling with life’s many challenges. Our 2015 Go Green campaign was given a huge boost this weekend and we thank everyone who took part!”

Still to come during Go Green 2015:

  • Buckland Nurseries in Dorking, Surrey and Ansell Garden Centre in West Drayton, Middlesex are selling Perennial wristbands during the fortnight.
  • Coolings Nursery in Kent will host ‘An Audience with Alan Titchmarsh’ (https://perennial.org.uk/events/an-audience-with-alan-titchmarsh/) with ticket sales and raffle benefitting Perennial.
  • The Hever Castle gardening team will be donning their gnome outfits again this year to raise money for Go Green
  • Perennial Development Manager Kate O’Shea will be at Four Oaks trade show on 8 and 9 September promoting the Perennial Partner scheme and raising awareness of Perennial’s unique services.
  • Jamie Hill, Marketing Manager at Perennial is running a lunchtime 10K on Wednesday 9 September, supported by colleagues at Head Office. You can sponsor the Perennial staff team here https://www.justgiving.com/PerennialGRBSGoGreen2015/

There are plenty of ways to get involved with HortAid 2015, whether you are an individual who loves gardens or a horticulture business keen to raise funds to help colleagues around the industry. Go Green for HortAid 2015 and help change the life of someone in crisis. Visit www.hortaid.org.uk, download a fundraising pack for ideas and information or call the team on 0800 093 8510.

Perennial’s wide-ranging benevolent services are regularly described by clients simply as a ‘lifeline’ – over 85% of clients say that Perennial’s help had a ‘huge’ or ‘quite big’ effect on their lives – but without the financial support of the UK horticulture industry, their long-term continuation is threatened.


For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact Jennie Spears or Clare Johnson at Bloom PR & Communications:

Jennie | 07944 55634 | jennie@bloom-pr.co.uk

Clare | 07815 041635 | clare@bloom-pr.co.uk

About Perennial

Established in 1839, The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Fund, or Perennial as it is now known, helps everyone working in and retired from horticulture, including landscapers, gardeners, garden designers, green keepers, tree surgeons, groundsmen and women, seed and turf growers, those involved in intensive production horticulture, parks and gardens staff and many more, and their families during times of crisis. The charity provides a range of support to people experiencing hardship whether through debt, illness, disability or old age. In the current economic climate this help is needed more than it ever was; in 2014 Perennial assisted its clients in accessing nearly £1.5m in direct financial help.

All of Perennial’s funds come from the generosity of the horticulture trade and the garden-loving public. To find out more about the work of Perennial and ways to get involved with fundraising during 2015, please visit www.perennial.org.uk, email info@perennial.org.uk or call one of the team on 0800 093 8510.

To keep up to date with the latest news, follow Perennial on Twitter: @PerennialGRBS and like Perennial on facebook.