Walsham opens its gardens for the 37th time

Maggie and Rob Barber in The Street
 Picture Mark Westley
Maggie and Rob Barber in The Street Picture Mark Westley
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About 1,500 people toured the gardens of Walsham-le-Willows at its 37th open garden event over the bank holiday.

Good weather on Sunday and Monday swelled the crowds for one of the oldest open garden events in Suffolk, with 30 villagers opening their plots of all sizes in aid of village causes, including St Mary’s Church’s fabric fund.

Walsham Le Willows and District WI in the cake and tea room with organiser Jill Newell

Walsham Le Willows and District WI in the cake and tea room with organiser Jill Newell

The organisers estimate about 250 villagers are involved in the event, which has raised about £250,000 over the years.

As well as the gardens there was a village market, arts sale and a flower festival in the church as well as historic cars in the village.

Music was provided by by Breckland Brass Band and Gislingham Silver Band at the Memorial Hall and a series of organists in the church.

One of the organisers, John Stebbing, said: “The feedback was full of praise for the way in which the event is organised, the quality and variety of the gardens and the delicious food served throughout the days and the host of other attractions that made the weekend so memorable.”

The idea for the open gardens was first suggested by the then vicar of St Mary’s, the Rev John Rutherford but credit for the ongoing developments of the event goes to the late Hilary Russell, whose energy and leadership is looked upon as being the reason for its success.

For more pictures, see Friday’s Bury Free Press