The news is just in that this year’s Stony Open Gardens two day event raised an incredible £15,525 for Willen Hospice. Held in the town on 25th and 26th June, after a break of 3 years due the pandemic, it was the tenth time the festival of local gardens, music, art and artists had been staged.

What began as an emotional tribute to her gardening friend, Sheila Plater organised the very first Open Gardens event back in 2003. The idea grew with help from a number of local volunteers, and after Sheila sadly died, her daughters held the 2005 event in memory of their Mum. Befittingly, a Cherry Tree was planted as a tribute to Sheila in 2012 and her legacy lives on in the community of Stony Stratford who have excelled in their fundraising efforts ever since.

Stony Open Gardens 2022 had an amazing range of local gardens, 28 residents kindly opened up their gardens as part of tour around the town and the £5 entry fee per person included a map to follow. The event also offered visitors the chance to buy locally made, arts, crafts and produce and an opportunity for local artists and musicians to showcase their talents.

Local businesses are incredibly supportive too, with many sponsoring the event and selling tickets. Refreshments were supplied by our friends at MacIntyre and were available at community hub, York House, where local businesses also had stalls and visitors were entertained by art, music and dance performances.

A whole host of generous local pubs, nail salons, florists and restaurants kindly donated 26 prizes for the raffle, the £1 tickets also included a free entry into our weekly Willen Hospice Lottery, the raffle alone raised £2630. Ticket sales were extra speedy, thanks to Anne, who was selling them via an electric scooter!

Our community fundraising team held a stall with snacks and refreshments, our Willen Hospice Shop and Book Shop sold entry tickets, as one of favourite community events, we wouldn’t miss it for the world!  Over £100,000 has been raised over the years and we owe a million thanks to the people and businesses of Stony Stratford.

Sowing the seeds for the future

Willen Hospice is facing unprecedented financial demands due to rising energy and fuel prices and we are always looking for new ways for our community to support us.

Next Spring, we are asking local communities to host Open Gardens Days to help us raise vital funds. Open Gardens are such a wonderful way for people to come together, enjoy the outdoors and celebrate nature whilst supporting those in our community who need our specialist care.

Could you sow the seed in your area?

If you think your local green-fingered community would love to come together in celebration to raise funds for Willen Hospice, just like Stony Stratford, we’d really love to hear from you.

Register your interest by emailing or call  Marihelen Esam, Willen Hospice Trustee on 07710 288933