Green-fingered Barry hopes cash will blossom for GNAAS
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A KEEN gardener is raising cash for the airborne ambulance service by selling off extra plants he has propagated.
Retired dentist Barry Parker has so far collected more than £100 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) after he started off by selling spare strawberry plants in front of his home, in Barnard Castle, earlier this month.
He said: “It was a bit spontaneous. I basically saved a lot of baby strawberry plants and suddenly found I had about 100.
“I also planted a tray of tomatoes and found I had about 100 of them. I thought I don’t need all of them, I can use them to raise money for the air ambulance.”
He set up a stand at his front gate along Darlington Road and recommended a donation of £1 per plant.
Later, he added flowering plants to the collection and has twice made donations of £50 to GNAAS.
He is now nearing the point where he can send another £50. He donates the money in his own name so that Gift Aid can be added to it.
Mr Parker said: “I am pleased to say I’ve never used the air ambulance and I hope I never have to, but it is important to me. We are already subscribed to the air ambulance through their monthly lottery. I think I am right in saying it is like the lifeboats, it relies entirely on charity, it gets no government funding.”
Mr Parker took up gardening after retirement and spends between two and three hours a day tending to his plants.
He said: “It is absolutely therapeutic – it de-stresses you. The garden was a bit of chore when I was working. If I got the grass cut it was a lot. Once you start planting and propagating your own seeds, the more you want to do.”
One of the gardener’s favourite haunts is Eggleston Hall Gardens.
He said: “That is a true nursery where they propagate their own plants. It is one of my favourite places.”