Rare open day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge is a massive hit with visitors

PUBLISHED: 09:14 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 07:20 30 May 2010

CALLS to secure the future of one of the region s most precious amenities have moved up a gear after a one-off open day attracted overwhelming support. Some 2000 people travelled from near and far to attend the special event at the Gardens of Easton Lod

CALLS to secure the future of one of the region's most precious amenities have moved up a gear after a one-off open day attracted "overwhelming" support.

Some 2000 people travelled from near and far to attend the special event at the Gardens of Easton Lodge on Sunday - 10 times the figure organisers were anticipating.

Despite receiving free entry, visitors also coughed up in excess of £1000 in donations towards the running costs of the event.

As a result, acting chairman of the Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust, Robin Whalley, hailed the day a "terrific success".

"The response to the open day was absolutely fantastic and a great reminder of what a beautiful amenity we have on the doorstep," said Mr Whalley, who reserved special thanks for all those who helped out to make the day a success.

"The support was overwhelming and people were extremely generous with their donations."

The event was the Gardens' first public opening since financial constraints forced its closure at the beginning of the year - but the turnout of visitors proves there is still tremendous support for it.

While the Trusts' long-term goal is the restoration of the gardens, the first step remains to the get the ancient Little Easton venue reopened on a more regular basis in 2010, starting with the popular Snowdrops season which should start in February and run for up to three weekends.

"Of course we would love to open up much more but we have to make sure we cover costs," said Mr Whalley.

"However, after the success on Sunday, it's clear that the Gardens have tremendous support. We are now aiming to open once a month throughout the summer months in 2010."

Yet the Garden's future rests on the volunteer base that can be drummed up and Trustees are welcoming anyone who is interesting in offering their services - whether it is hands-on gardening, getting involved with committee affairs or offering expert skills that prove of benefit to that goal.

To get involved with volunteering at the Gardens of Easton Lodge - which is located just off the B184 between Great Dunmow and Thaxted - call 01371 876979 or e-mail enquiries@eastonlodge.co.uk

For further information about the Gardens visit www.eastonlodge.co.uk

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