Friendship stories

Peter Todd volunteers with It’s Your Neighbourhood group, Green Space Friends

Peter’s friendship story

Peter Todd is a volunteer with the It’s Your Neighbourhood community gardening group, Green Space Friends, in Cumbria. Here Peter shares how a chance encounter has had joyful consequences.

In the winter of 2022, I lost my brother, my best friend. Those grey winter months were illuminated one morning in early spring when I came across a small group of people preparing the ground in the local churchyard. They had a Green Space Friends logo on their hi-vis vests.

“My curiosity resulted in an introduction and an invitation to join the happy band of volunteers and there and then there was a purpose in my life.”

We met every Tuesday, rain or shine, to maintain pockets of green spaces locally. Our activities were recognised around town and more volunteers appeared making Tuesdays a friendly social occasion, always finishing with tea and homemade cake, admiring the results of the day’s gardening.

In the summer, it was wonderful to see small children, encouraged by volunteer parents and grandparents, getting involved in the planting and maintenance in the flowerbeds, getting outside and getting their hands and knees dirty.

Volunteers hard at work in Mansion Gardens, Workington

Peter Todd (centre) has found companionship and a new sense of purpose

On one such day, we were adopting the RHS message to concentrate on the importance of propagation and I thought, “here we were, in a way, propagating an interest and value in the minds of those children of what we were trying to achieve”.

“Because of that chance meeting in the churchyard, I have enjoyed the company of strangers that have now become firm friends and given this 85-year-old a new lease of life.”

Green Space Friends is an It’s Your Neighbourhood group. Whether it’s the street you live in, an existing community garden or a disused area that needs a revamp; almost any outdoor space being looked after by the local community can qualify for It’s Your Neighbourhood. Benefits include access to expert advice and support, insurance cover and free seeds.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.