Friendship stories

Jean Lord (right) and Jackie met at a Whalley in Bloom meet and greet event

Jean’s friendship story

Jean Lord is a volunteer with Whalley in Bloom. Jean tells us how she made a new friend when Jackie moved to this Lancashire village and Britain in Bloom brought them together.

We had put out the word that we would like some more volunteers and to come to the bus station on a particular day. I do our social media so I spread the word.

On the day, Jackie walked up and said she had just moved into the area, knew no one or where anything was. She came with me to work on a long border I tend, and we hit it off immediately. At 81 and 82, we are of a similar age and both widows. When I came up with a new project for a stumpery, we came across an ideal spot with a felled tree at the other end of Whalley. I don’t have a car and Jackie was quick to offer hers for transport.

We hauled a load of materials up to the Old Grammar School, built the stumpery and planted it up with ferns with the help of some of the other volunteers.

Jackie (left) and Jean working on a stumpery project in the village

Meet and greets are a great way to recruit new volunteers to a Bloom group

“Leading up to Bloom judging I only had to mention bark or plants, and Jackie was always there with an offer of transport.”

After many trips and gardening days, and with judging over, we had some free time. I am the historian of Whalley and Jackie volunteers in a hospice shop. I heard there was a campaign to restore the bells at the local parish church where we have planters and a wildflower garden. They need £50,000 so I decided to organise a bric-à-brac stall at the end of October. Jackie offered to help straight away.

Whenever she had time, she was at my house, which had become the holding place. My spare bedroom and lounge were full and we worked together for the remaining weeks to collect and price things up. She would go off to the local supermarket for banana boxes, which we stacked.

Jackie and other Bloomers transported about 20 boxes or bags and, on the day, we made £419. Before the sale, I had been selling online where I could, so I gave the church £1,000We’ve got other tables booked every month for the foreseeable. Jackie has now got her daughter and son-in-law helping where they can.

“She is a fabulous friend and a wonderful addition to Whalley in Bloom, and I am delighted she crossed the street that day.”

How to get others involved

Jean finds social media such as Facebook useful in keeping the local community updated with news of events and details of how to get involved in Britain in Bloom. The community noticeboard also includes contact details, which helps point new volunteers in the right direction. Jackie got involved in volunteering through a meet and greet event.

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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.