Glorious Gardens and Marvellous Meadows

Jun 22 2015

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On Monday 22nd June, our dedicated supporters came together for a private viewing of the Coronation Meadow at Hyde Mill, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, by kind invitation of Hugh and Rosie Tollemache. The Coronation Meadow was an idea of HRH The Prince of Wales, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, and to create a meadow in every county to protect the UK’s remaining meadows and use them as springboards for the creation of new meadows right across the country.

We were extremely fortunate with the weather and the location. Set in a wildlife-rich meadow in the floodplain of the River Dickler, this was the perfect time of year to soak up the English countryside and see rare orchids like the Common-Spotted and Southern-Marsh coming into bloom.

The day, sponsored by Savills, was kicked off by Roger Mortlock, Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, who opened everyone’s eyes to the Glorious Meadows on our doorsteps. The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has been working with the University of Oxford and Butterfly Conservation to reintroduce the Cotswold Blue into the Cotswolds, especially in the Stroud Valleys where The Nelson Trust is based. The Cotswold Blue is our emblem – the fight for survival of this rare butterfly resonated deeply when guests heard Ruth Saunders’ compelling life story from addiction to recovery. Ruth explained how she had lost many friends to overdoses and suicide through the years: ‘I know that could very easily have been me. I probably wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t been given the chance of treatment’. With the support of The Nelson Trust, Ruth has been clean for fourteen years, and is now happily married with two children, alongside finishing a degree with the Open University. Ruth is the driving force behind The Hub in Gloucester where those in recovery can support each other by learning new skills for the hospitality and catering industry in a late-night alcohol-free café right in the centre of Gloucester; a place where the emphasis is on enjoying life without the need for drugs or alcohol.

Another honoured guest was international garden designer, author and writer Mary Keen who highlighted issues around ‘misunderstanding meadows.’ The theme of renewal was continued throughout the day when guests were reminded that they could make a donation in return for a bale of hay. These bales were no ordinary bales of hay! Packed with seeds from the Coronation Meadow, they could be used to rejuvenate barren land. Many of the bales found their way into the backs of cars to be taken away in hope of replicating the Coronation Meadow across the country. Guests were invited to dedicate their meadows to the 2,100 individuals who have received treatment at The Nelson Trust residential abstinence-based rehab and the 2,500 women and families who have experienced life-changing support at our two women’s centres.

The Nelson Trust would like to thank Hugh and Rosie Tollemache for their warm welcome and for allowing us to enjoy their meadow and gardens. Thank you to Savills, our generous sponsor for the day and for providing goody bags and signposting to Hyde Mill. We would also like to thank our army of volunteers who produced 180 picnics, the many people who donated raffle prizes, as well as Nick Park and Martin Kiszko who donated books and cards to help raise funds. The Nelson Trust would also like to say a huge thank you to Sue Peake. Sue's work has been bought and enjoyed by hundreds of people. Sue painted a series of watercolour paintings of the Coronation Meadow, which she kindly donated to us. These have been made into a collection of greeting cards which were sold at the Garden Day. Mary Keen and Rosie Tollemache were presented with a framed painting each as a thanks for their contribution to the day. Other contributions came from an array of fascinating stalls including Berkeley Cole, Iona Debarge, Rosanna Lonsdale, Jo Stafford-Michael, Gamefare, Eastwood Park and Cotswold Garden Flowers.

This event has been a huge success, raising £20,000 for the Nelson Trust.

To view photos of the day click here.