A GROUP of perennial fundraisers who sell plants in Petersfield to raise money have held their last sale due to numbers withering.
The Petersfield Plant and Produce Group sprung up in 1991 after the Women’s Institute (WI) plant market in the town folded.
Group spokesman, pensioner Pam Willis, of Rake, said: “After the WI market closed as individuals we decide to keep going.
“From the outset it was decided to donate profits to local charities, and since then we have donated to 21 local and bigger charities.”
“But due to a decline in those able to give the time to grow the plants and sell them we have decided to call it a day.
“It’s a sad day in many ways, and we will all miss the buzz of meeting people.”
In its 26 years of growing plants and selling them between March and September, more than £10,000 has been raised for mainly Petersfield charities.
These include the King’s Arms youth centre in the Festival Hall car park, Petersfield Physic Garden, Home-Start Butser, The Rosemary Foundation, Buriton Show, Rogate Fete, Liss Youth Centre, and Petersfield foodbank.
The primary venue for the monthly plant sales on a Friday morning, was St Peter’s Church Hall in St Peter’s Road, and the group also held special sales on Lloyds Bank forecourt in The Square, and occassionaly on The Square itself.
Pam said: “When the bank started opening Saturdays, the forecourt outside wasn’t available any longer, and we ended up just being able to sell plants outside the church hall.
“”As well as the dwindling membership, the decision to close is also due to loss of the prime selling sites in The Square – and of course we can’t compete with supermarkets who sell ready grown and picked flowers very cheaply.”
And it does this mean Pam’s now ready to hang up her gardening trowel, pack her dibber away in the shed, and pull off her wellies for good?
“No,” she laughed. “I have a big garden and I’d like to make it much more presentable.
“And now I’ll have the time to do it.”