A host of gardening glitterati turned out on Friday 17th January 2014 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Perennial, the UK’s only charity working exclusively to support horticulturists, at The Roof Gardens, Kensington. Over £4,300 was raised on the night with countless pledges of support through future fundraising activities added to the beautiful Pledge Tree (Euonymous alatus donated by Provender Nurseries for the event), the first of which, a generous donation, was placed by Perennial’s President Alan Titchmarsh.
Perennial’s Chair Sir Roger Singleton, gave an opening welcome before HRH Princess Alexandra, Perennial’s Royal Patron, said a few words of congratulation and cut a magnificent birthday cake to mark exactly 175 years to the day since the Gardeners’ Benevolent Institution (now Perennial) was founded. Alan Titchmarsh, Perennial’s President, then gave a heart-felt and uplifting address thanking everyone for their support and calling on the industry to help raise the anniversary appeal target of £175,000 in 2014.
Alan said, “I’ve met gardeners at all levels of society and come to know a diverse and astonishing group of people […] they all have one thing in common – a determination to make this planet of ours a better place to live in and the willingness to buckle down in all weathers, tend plants and gardens for the rest of the world to enjoy. We owe it to our profession to show that we care not only about our own endeavours but also for those gardeners who suffer misfortune and find it hard to make ends meet.”
He continued, “I wish Perennial the best of good fortune and hope that in 175 years’ time […] it will still be offering solace, sustenance, hope and a future to the group of people of which I am proud to be numbered.”
Around 150 people enjoyed catching up and meeting new friends at The Roof Gardens event including Robert Hillier, Rob and Rosy Hardy, James Alexander Sinclair, Joe Swift, Tom Hart Dyke, Jim Buttress, Jo Thompson and David Domoney.
Over 70 pledges of support were made on the night from cash donations, offers to host events, talks and demonstrations through to promises of team challenge events to raise money. Michael Perry, Product Development Manager at Thompson & Morgan, pledged to enlist a team of horticulturists to attempt The Dirty Dozen Races, a grueling obstacle course designed by ex British Special Forces.
Richard Capewell, Chief Executive of Perennial, said “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support pledged already for our anniversary appeal – and the year is still so young. The celebration event, generously hosted by David Lewis and the team at The Roof Gardens, Kensington, provided a perfect launch for our £175,000 fundraising appeal and a great opportunity to meet old friends and introduce new ones to Perennial. Thank you to everyone who helped make the evening so memorable and we look forward to working with the industry throughout 2014 to raise even more support and much-needed funds to continue our work helping horticulturists in crisis.”
If you would like to find out more about the work of Perennial and its 175th anniversary or would like to support Perennial with a fundraising event in 2014, please pledge your support, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the team on 01372 373962.