Tea gives a charity boost to Norfolk charities

Sing with Pride choir pose for a photo at the Stody Lodge Gardens Big Gay Out. It was one of the eve

Sing with Pride choir pose for a photo at the Stody Lodge Gardens Big Gay Out. It was one of the events held at the gardens at which charities could raise money by selling tea and snacks. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Homemade teas have boosted a range of charities to the tune of £15,900, thanks to a scheme run by Stody Lodge Gardens.

Stody Lodge Gardens. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Stody Lodge Gardens. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

The 14-acre rhododendron and azalea gardens near Holt welcomed hundreds of visitors to its May open days, and charities - including Tapping House, Heritage House, St Johns Ambulance, St Andrews Church in Holt and the Holt Youth Centre - were invited to sell their own tea and snacks there and keep the proceeds.

Kate MacNicol, the gardens' owner, said she was delighted with the result.

She said: 'All of the charities we invited to provide homemade teas in the gardens this May worked incredibly hard and we are delighted that they raised such significant sums for their individual worthy causes. A stop-off at the tea rooms for a delicious homemade Victoria sponge, flapjack or brownie, has become an essential part of any visit to see the spectacular colour at Stody Lodge Gardens.'

Other charities to benefit were Stody and Hunworth Churches, Thornage Hall, Norwich Pride and the National Garden Scheme and the Benjamin Foundation.

Chris Elliot, the Benjamin Foundation's marketing and fundraising manager, said he was thrilled with the support from the team at the beauty spot.

Mr Elliot said: 'Our heartfelt thanks to everybody involved in such a successful afternoon, including our wonderful volunteers and staff who helped us at the event, bakers and business supporters who supplied us with cakes and snacks to sell, and of course the team from the Stody Estate and the MacNicol family for giving us this valuable opportunity.'

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The gardens have a collection of more than 200 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas, and the site's two-acre Azalea Water Gardens is believed to be the largest single planting of vividly coloured azalea mollis - more than 2,000 plants - in the country.

May's open day events included a 'kids for kids' family fun day, the inaugural Stody Classic Vehicles Day, the Stody Big Gay Out and an exhibition of local artists including Tracy Weston and sculptor Martin Pigg.

The gardens also have an exhibit in the horticultural section of the Royal Norfolk Show today and tomorrow.

Do you have a story about a charity event? Email stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk