In three weeks time, Garden Museum Director Christopher Woodward steps into the Atlantic to swim 50 miles from Newlyn to the gardens of Tresco, to raise funds to rescue Britain’s only museum of gardens from the Covid-19 crisis.
And a generous mystery donor has come to the rescue, promising to match every donation from now pound for pound (up to a max of £100,000).
The Garden Museum needs £370,000 to stay afloat
The Garden Museum needs £370,000 to stay afloat this winter, and its Friends, patrons and supporters have donated £185,000 so far.
Now with this new match-funding, each donation, no matter how big or small, is doubled in value and gets the appeal closer to its target: for example a donation of just £25 becomes £50.
The route retraces a journey made by the painter-gardener Cedric Morris, one of the Museum’s ‘patron saints’, in 1950. Cedric went by boat; no one has swum the route before.
Artist-gardener Cedric Morris’ garden at Benton End in Suffolk was celebrated in one of the Garden Museum’s most popular exhibition to date two years ago. In the winter of 1950 he shut up the Art School he’d established at Benton End, and sailed from Newlyn – the artists’ colony where he had lived in the 1920s – to Tresco.
Kind of gift you dream about
Woodward said, ‘I couldn’t believe it when I read a message from a Foundation to say that they would match each gift from now up, pound for pound. It’s the kind of gift you dream about.
“We are the only Museum - in London, at least - with a collection and archive of such uniqueness and a schools and community programme on this scale and diversity to exist without public funding towards operations, a founder’s Endowment, or a bigger institution behind us. It’s just us, our visitors and Friends, and the Museum we have built.’