Mid Sussex family open 7-acre garden for Macmillan Cancer Support fundraiser

Julie checks progress in the garden
Julie checks progress in the garden

A Mid Sussex family are preparing to open their garden for a 42nd year of fundraising in support of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Julie Worrall and her family are busy putting the finishing touches to Birchanger Gardens, near Balcombe, for the charity fundraiser.

On May 11 their efforts will raise money for the Mid Sussex branch of the national charity which has provided help for thousands of local people living with cancer and their relatives.

The gardens will be open from 2pm to 5.30pm and all proceeds from the £5 entrance fee and sales of refreshments will go to the charity. Children are admitted free of charge.

The Mid Sussex group, spearheaded by David Metcalfe of Lindfield, raises about £50,000 a year.

He said: “This is an important event in our calendar of fund raising and we are grateful to the Worrall family for dedicating this day to us. It takes a lot of work to maintain their magnificent garden, so we greatly appreciate their efforts.”

The seven-acre garden and house are owned by Julie’s husband Roger and his brother Rupert Worrall. It was originally bought by Roger’s parents Derek and Rae, who moved in during 1963.

Macmillan volunteers will be offering refreshments and handling other services such as car parking on the day, as well as a tombola and book sale.

Julie Worrall took a break from preparing the magnificent garden and said: “We get people visiting from all over the place to support the fundraising.

“We have our regulars but a lot of people tell us they have never been before, so it is very encouraging new people are coming.”

The family also hosts other charity days, and first began with helping the local W.I. branch when Derek and Rae Worrall first moved in.

Julie said: “When Derek, who was a farmer and businessman, had some spare time he chose one project a year in the garden. He just fell in love with it when he moved in.

“He had never done gardening before but he saw its potential. Our job is really one of maintenance, and with seven acres that keeps us busy. But it is a beautiful place to live and show off occasionally.”