Age no barrier for Peter and Julia’s fantastic fundraising

An Ely couple in their eighties are finally hanging up their boots after raising more than £3,500 for the National Garden Scheme in their first year of opening in the city.

Peter Williams, 85, and his wife, Julia, 81, have held a plant sale in their Chapel Street driveway almost every day since mid-April, as well as opening their garden almost every week, and providing 56 teas in the garden during the Scheme’s recent ‘Great British Garden Party week in September.

Peter and Julia

And their efforts didn’t stop there. No fundraising opportunity was passed by. When the gas company Triio closed off Chapel Street recently for works, a cheque for £100 was soon on its way after Peter mentioned to them the inconvenience the lack of advance notice had caused.

The sum raised is the highest by any single garden or group in Cambridgeshire.

Pam Bullivant, joint County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme in Cambridgeshire, said: “This is an astonishing amount to have raised. It was a tremendous effort by Peter and Julia and we are completely in awe of what they’ve been able to achieve.

“It means so much to us and to our nursing and caring beneficiaries, particularly in this most challenging of years,” added Pam.

Peter Williams explained: “We are both well and fit, and when you have a nice garden, it needs to be shared.

“This year we’ve been struck by the desperate situation the National Garden Scheme was faced with. In the very year when funds need to be raised for nurses and carers, lockdown prevented them from doing so.

“We thought we’d do what we could to make good once we were able to open. It’s been nice talking to all the visitors. It’s been a big chunk of our social life this year! And it’s the lovely people in and around Ely who need to be thanked as it’s their spending and donations that have helped raise these funds.”

Peter and Julia, a former nurse and health visitor, moved to Ely three years ago from Surrey, where they had previously opened their garden under the National Garden Scheme.

They opened their garden for the last time in 2020 on Sunday 18 October.

Funds raised through garden openings contribute to the National Garden Scheme’s ‘Help Support Our Nurses’ campaign.  The Scheme is, cumulatively, the largest donor to many of the charities it supports, including Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie.


Don’t miss a thing

Sign up to hear more about gardens, events and our
activities throughout the year

By completing this form, you confirm that you are aged 18 years or over and that you are happy to receive emails from the National Garden Scheme in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We will never share your details with anyone else without your express permission.


Our donations for 2020

Donor 1
Donor 2 £425,000
Donor 3 £425,000
Donor 4 £425,000
Donor 5 £340,000
Donor 6 £370,000
Donor 7 £157,500
Donor 8
Donor 9 £75,000
Donor 10 £100,000
Donor 11 £190,000
Donor 12
Donor 13 £80,000
Donor 14 £195,000
Donor 15 £97,210