£15,000 raised in a day
Founded in 1993, this village organisation has truly gone from strength to strength.
Its simple raison d’être is ‘to maintain for the benefit of the public the Church of St. Catherine and its churchyard’.
It is run by a small committee and has a substantial membership both from the village and beyond. The membership subscription is low cost, which helps maintain numbers – important because the Friends’ main fundraising activity requires the help of well over 100 people, mostly drawn from the membership.
Every other year, the Friends organise Ludham Open Gardens Day. This may sound a bit commonplace, but it has two unique selling points. The first is that the dozen or so (very good) gardens are either side of Womack Water, a short tributary of the River Thurne. A fleet of motorboats ferry visitors to and fro across the water and there are refreshments and loos and minor attractions on both sides. The second is that our experience tells us that many of the visitors are not garden buffs and, for these, a major display of classic cars is a great attraction. The whole event stands or falls on efficient, friendly and well signed car parking, (More than 700 cars to be parked) plus a plethora of loos and different types of refreshments so that visitors are never very far from food or drink (or the other!).
Is the event worth all the effort? The writer is the Fabric Officer of St. Catherine’s Church and is positive that it is. These Open Gardens days usually raise over £10,000. In 2019 more than £15,000 was raised – not bad we think, for a one-day village event.
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