Award-winning garden centre and farm shop Garsons of Esher has raised a staggering £4,650 for their charity of the year for 2017, Fabian's Childhood Cancer Trust. Money has mounted up thanks to charity boxes at the tills, collections which took place at Garsons’ Christmas food market and late night shopping events, and donations at children’s half term craft events in May and October.
A pair of real reindeer even lent a hoof to the fundraising. When these beautiful animals took up residence at Garsons in the run up to Christmas, shoppers were able to visit them for free, but were encouraged to give any spare change into collection buckets in the reindeer enclosure.
Fabian’s Childhood Cancer Trust was set up in memory of local schoolboy, Fabian Bate, who sadly passed away in November 2014 from relapsed childhood leukaemia at the age of 12. He had a strong connection with Garsons as he was a keen gardener and loved to spend time in their pick-your-own (PYO) fields. Last summer, the family-run business even named one of its PYO fields in his memory.
“A big thank you to the team at Garsons for supporting and motivating us towards our goals. It has given us a huge boost. Their support has enabled us to see that our work could help more children find a long-term cure for Leukaemia,” says Fabian’s mum, Lydia, who founded the organisation with her father, Frank Watson. “And it has meant so much to our family to know that Fabian will be remembered always by having a field named after him.”
Fabian’s Childhood Cancer Trust supports families who have a child diagnosed with cancer, and aims to provide around 200 overnight and `treat’ bags a year for parents staying on the wards of the children’s cancer unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital. And it also raises vital funds for research into relapsed childhood leukaemia, and has supplied much needed centrifuge testing equipment to help with this research. With help from Garsons, the charity which started at the end of 2014, is now hoping to sponsor a Master student to carry out drug research.
“It has been a privilege to support this wonderful charity which makes a real difference to local families and we are extremely grateful to our customers who have been so generous and helped us achieve this amazing total,” says director of Garsons, Ben Thompson.
Garsons, which has been at the heart of the community for almost 150 years, supports a different charity every year.
For more information on Fabian’s Childhood Cancer Trust, visit their website at http://www.fabianstrust.org.uk/