Sidmouth Garden club folds after 80 years

MEMBERS of Sidmouth Garden Club have expressed sadness that the cherished organisation has folded after more than 80 years.

MEMBERS of Sidmouth Garden Club have expressed sadness that the cherished organisation has folded after more than 80 years. A shortage of vital committee members and dwindling membership left the club in peril. Members voted to shut it down earlier this month.

The blow means an end to landmark spring, summer and autumn Garden Club shows that attracted hundreds of visitors from far and wide.

Membership had dropped by more than half over the last four years from around 240 to just 98.

The Garden Club’s roots span back more than a century.


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“Regrettably the club just couldn’t survive,” said John Vaughan, who was its chairman until December last year.

“It’s extremely sad. People loved to come to the meetings and shows. So many people will miss it.”

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“We’ve been struggling along for the last three or four years,” said former club vice-president and show director John Wright. “It was good for the town. I’ve enjoyed working for the club ever since I moved here 18 years ago,” he added.

“It’s just tragic,” said former membership secretary Arthur Grove, 88, a member for a quarter of a century. He remembers a time when the club had “too many” members and said: “I feel so sad. It’s been a great club. It beggars belief with the houses being built in Sidmouth there won’t be an influx of people interested in gardening and growing vegetables for themselves.”

Arthur’s neighbour and fellow member, Alan Cottrell, said: “It’s a shame for all the people who had put so much into it.”

The club failed to secure key officers after recent meetings. Nobody came forward to fill the roles.

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