Garden’s a fitting memory

Veronica Wood will open her delightful garden at Orchard Close on July 18 and 19 to raise funds for

Veronica Wood will open her delightful garden at Orchard Close on July 18 and 19 to raise funds for the Admiral Nurses campaign. Ref shs 8875-23-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A former carer who says an Admiral Nurse would have made a huge difference to her life is opening her gardens to raise campaign funds.

Keen gardener Veronica Wood will be hosting an open event in aid of the Sid Valley Memory Café’s campaign – in partnership with the Herald – to raise the £100,000 needed for a specialist dementia nurse on July 18 and 19.

She said it takes a huge amount of work to get her gardens at Runnymede, in Orchard Close, perfect for visiting members of the public, but it is worth it for a cause that is very close to her heart.

“My support for the Admiral Nurse Campaign came from my husband, Bill, who had vascular dementia, following a stroke, and I cared for him for 14 years,” she said. “It’s quite a sentence on you as a carer that you are not able to do things you would normally do, like I couldn’t go to church.”

Veronica said as a former bereavement councillor and Citizens Advice Bureau advisor, she had a strong background for coping with life as a carer, but still struggled with it.

She added: “Getting any respite was a problem for me and lots of times I thought I wish we had an Admiral Nurse – it would have made a huge difference with my situation.”

Bill was a professional gardener and Veronica said her stunning grounds are a fitting memory to her husband and it gives her great pleasure to see others enjoying them.

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“I always put a lot of emphasis on hosting because I want people to enjoy the experience,” she said. “It’s a very tranquil garden and very peaceful and it has beautiful surrounding scenery too.”

Veronica recently welcomed more than 100 guests to her 80th birthday party, where instead of gifts, she asked for donations to the Admiral Nurse campaign and has so far raised £700.

And from 2pm to 5pm tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday she will be welcoming visitors to her Runnymede garden to help the parish church’s appeal for new toilets.

Her last garden opening of the year will take place on the August bank holiday weekend, in aid of Sidmouth Hospiscare.