Celebrating five years of blooming success at Seaford’s Exchange Garden

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Supporters of Seaford’s Exchange Garden gathered on Saturday to celebrate its achievements since it was launched on derelict ground five years ago.

The idea started to grow when Wendy Simmons and landscape gardener Lindsay Thomas looked over the sheltering high wall of the telephone exchange, saw the potential of the land and persuaded the town council to let them take it over.

They envisaged a community garden where volunteers would work together tilling the soil, sowing seeds, taking cuttings and growing plants and vegetables.

Spare produce would be made available to the public for donations and any profit would be used to perpetuate the cycle.

Volunteers would welcome everybody, inclusive of impairment, and would strive to make the garden accessible to all.

That their dream came true is seen in the numbers and diversity of the people who work in the garden on Wednesday mornings throughout the year, from students to wheelchair users, from those with learning difficulties to retired people with or without horticultural experience.

At Saturday’s birthday party Dave Grimley, Garden Team member, spoke about what the garden hoped to achieve in the future.

Past and present volunteers, visitors, including the High Sheriff of East Sussex, David Allam, the Mayor of Seaford, Cllr Linda Wallraven, Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe, Stephen Newberry and representatives of Seaford Rotary Club, Lions, Lionesses and other local organisations who have contributed so much to its success, watched as Lindsay and Wendy cut the cake.

This was symbolically decorated with seed packets to mark the first five years of a garden set to grow in scope and production, providing learning opportunities, enjoyment and fresh fruit and vegetables for all.

Prizes for a raffle were generously donated by businesses.