Every idea has to start somewhere and in the case of the annual Garden Re-Leaf Day Walk it started at a bar where many “great” ideas begin!
The brainchild of Glee’s Event Director, Matthew Mein, the Garden Re-Leaf Day Walk has become an integral part of the Garden Re-Leaf agenda, and to-date it has seen hundreds of walkers rack up the miles in places such as London, Cambridge and Buckinghamshire.
Now in its sixth year, the event welcomes almost 100 people from across the garden retail sector as well as other Greenfingers supporters – a far cry from the 30 walkers who embarked on the first walk back in 2014. One of these walkers was, of course, Matthew Mein, after all he had to put his money where his mouth is following his bar-based brainwave! In 2019 Matthew completed his 100th Garden Re-Leaf mile and will be returning to the 2020 event with his team from Hyve to complete his 120th mile. But what brings Matt back year after year?
“The first Garden Re-Leaf Day Walk was much harder than any of us anticipated but the one thing that made it achievable was the sense of camaraderie along the way. 20 miles can feel like a long way but when you’re walking with friends, colleagues and new friends you’ve met along the way the miles easily slip by. Every single event has been better than the one before and knowing that you’re helping to raise funds and the profile of the Greenfingers Charity makes putting one foot in front of the other that little bit easier. I’m incredibly proud to be involved and am so pleased the industry has embraced the event in the way that it has. Here’s to mile 120!”
Another industry figure completing their 120 mile in 2020 is Kimberley Hornby, Managing Director of leading garden and leisure PR agency, Hornby Whitefoot. Actively involved in Garden Re-Leaf and Greenfingers through the PR support the agency provides, it would be easy for Kimberley to hide behind her desk, but she doesn’t! We asked Kimberley what the event means to her. She said: “Greenfingers is a truly superb charity, and one that I am so proud to support year-round, however when it comes to the Garden Re-Leaf Day Walk, I’m raring to go. So much of our jobs can be desk based, so being able to get out into the fresh air, pop the out-of-office on and get chatting to friends and colleagues is so refreshing. I love the fact that the walk makes us drop our airs and graces, instead it becomes a really lovely teambuilding exercise. People from all corners of the sector come together to keep each other motivated, to talk, laugh and get to know each other through mile after mile. It’s such a unique networking opportunity, one where you find your “team” along the way so it’s also perfect for solo walkers.
“I’d highly recommend the walk to everyone. Yes, you will be tired. Yes, 20 miles is a long way, but the sense of personal achievement is addictive. But more importantly the pain you’ll feel after the walk will fade within a few hours. The same can’t be said for the children, families and staff that benefit from a Greenfingers garden. These gardens provide a place of comfort, a place to remember and a place to mourn. These gardens are so important, so how can I say no to being part of the walk year after year?!”
In a nutshell: The Garden Re-Leaf Day Walk
Starting and ending at the newly acquired British Garden Centres’ Chilton Garden Centre, the walk (and accompanying cycle routes!) will take participants on a stunning tour of the Chiltern Hills, a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Walkers can choose to explore a 10- or 20-mile route, whilst cyclists will embark upon either a 25, 50, 75 or 100km route (or as many times round the 25km route as they can muster!) that could take in the 276m elevation that enables the Chilterns to provide stunning views across Oxfordshire.
It’s not too late to get involved this year, so if you are interested, you can sign up to the Garden Re-Leaf Day Sponsored Walk or Cycle Challenge by visiting www.greenfingerscharity.org.uk/gardenreleaf.