Galloways (Southport) at flower show ‘service users opens the show with Anton Du Beke’

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A Southport based charity who took part in the Flower Show for the first time this year claim they were completely overwhelmed by the level of support they received from staff at the show and the publicPhoto above: Lil Nesome dancing with Anton Du Beke at the show’s opening

Galloway’s Society for the Blind which merged with Southport blind aid only a few years ago were amazed at the level of help they received to help make their dream of having a show garden a reality. Fundraiser for the local charity Emma Wilson commented; “We really wanted a garden at the Flower show, it is such a huge events and fantastic publicity for a small local charity like ourselves but being so new to the area we do not have the man power or the resources. When we spoke to the show organisers to tell them a garden was not going to be possible this year we were amazed by the response we got. The staff rang me back a few days later informing us they could source the materials for us and had contacted a gold winning landscaper to help us make the garden a reality.

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Photo above: Alan Francis and Emma Wilson receiving the Silver-Gilt award

Alan Francis who is a Southport landscaper and has won gold five times at the Flower show agreed to meet with me and plan a sensory garden which would be accessible for blind and visually impaired people, allowing them to enjoy the garden using their sense of touch, smell and hearing. Alan was fantastic, nothing was too much trouble for him and he put the whole garden together for us, with the help of his two sons. We could not believe it when we turned up at the show and found the garden had won Silver-Gilt, it was more than we ever imagined. Over the next four days we had so many people coming over and congratulating the charity and telling us how beautiful the garden was.

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Above: Galloway’s Sensory Garden with Alan Francis and Galloway’s staff

But the Flower show had one more surprise up its sleeve, un be known to us at the time, the daughter of one of our regular service users had contacted the show telling them it was her mums dream to dance with Strictly Come Dancing star, Anton du Beke, who was opening the show this year. Lil who is 85 and registered blind was invited by the Flower Show staff as a VIP and when Anton came on stage to open the show he asked her to come up and have a dance. Lil was absolutely thrilled by the experience and has brought in the photos to show everyone here at Galloway’s.

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Above: The public had the chance to experience what it was like living with sight loss.

As a charity we work hard to help over 7000 local blind and visually impaired people regain their confidence, maintain their independence and show them that having a visual impairment does not need to stop them living a full and active live, but we rely on donations and local support to do this. We want to sincerely thank the Flower Show, Alan Francis Landscapes and the public who came and donated to us over the four days, you are making our work possible”

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Above: Fundraising manager Janine Bickerstaff dancing in Galloway’s garden with David Bellamy

To find out more about Galloway’s Society for the Blind and the services they provide call 01704 534555 or email [email protected]. Or if you are looking to have your garden done and are looking for a landscaper in the area call 07715 118982 or email [email protected]

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