Amberley Gardens Open: This is the huge amount one Sussex village raised for a great cause when 19 residents opened their gardens to the public

When nineteen villagers in arguably Sussex’s prettiest village opened their gardens they raised more than £12,000.

Amberley, nestled near the South Downs just north of Arundel, has some of the finest private gardens in the land.

For some 30 years they have been opening the cream of the crop to raise money for charity and on a glorious Sunday afternoon they repeated the exercise with the precision of a well-oiled and perfectly regulated machine.

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Covid and lockdown meant it had been four years since Amberley Gardens Open last took place – and perhaps absence had made the heart grow fonder.

Glenys Rowe in her stunning garden at Southdown House, Amberley which was open to the public

Huge numbers of visitors happily paid £7 each for a programme and entrance sticker before embarking on not just a visit to the gardens but home-made tea and cakes, a tombola, and the famous plant stalls.

One of the organisers Suzie Coates said: “The amount raised is more than £12,000 with a few more donations to come. To say we are overjoyed is an understatement. Nine hundred visitors plus and as the car park had only 12 spaces left, we were at capacity.

“After a four year break it was just so good to be back.

"It’s been a superb day – perfect weather, perfect gardens, what more could you ask for?”

It was clear from their comments that visitors absolutely loved the event – and garden owners praised their unknown guests for being perfect visitors.

Proceeds went to the children’s charity Action Medical Research with a donation to amazing Amberley village school.

With perfect timing in the month of the Queen’s platinum jubilee, Action Medical Research is also celebrating its 70th birthday.

Paddington Bear meeting the Queen might have been the highlight of her celebrations but the famous bear also has historic links to the charity.

He has been at the heart of fundraising for Action Medical Research for more than 40 years ever since his creator, Michael Bond, met the charity’s founder, Duncan Guthrie, in 1976. Mr Guthrie lived in Amberley.

Paddington Bear always likes to help wherever he can and so, after chatting over the matter with Mr Bond, he agreed to support Action as the charity’s official mascot.

Garden owners said it was great fun to welcome visitors – and in beautiful sunshine the event could not have been more successful.