Fabulous rainbow garden display helps cancer sufferer Joe Huddleston boost Macmillan funds

Retired farm worker Joe Huddleston hosted his first ever Macmillan coffee morning at the age of 79

Monday, 4th October 2021, 4:27 pm

Joe, who raised £783 for Macmillan Cancer Support, had a very special reason for hosting the event. He lost his sister to bowel cancer some 20 years ago and earlier this year he was diagnosed with cancer too.

He said: "That was what started it - she used to have them.They had a big house and garden. I thought with my condition at the moment can I do something? The garden had been nice earlier on - it's only an old folk's bungalow."

Despite mobility difficulties and his own health and mobility concerns - Joe's ankle and foot were badly injured by a cow when he was 24, he wanted to put out the welcome mat and boost funds for the charity.

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Joe, pictured far left, enjoying a get together at the Macmillan coffee morning

Friends, family and neighbours turned out to support the event which included the opportunity to see his beautiful and well tended garden in Ribbleton - laid out for easy access with raised beds, ramps, handles and colourful plants a-plenty. He said: "I was surprised and pleased and thoroughly enjoyed it. My daughter invited some people we'd known for years - it was brilliant."

Joe , who was brought up at Saddle Side farm in Chipping, had decided he wanted a rainbow display of flowers this year in tune with the times. He said: "I love every colour."

He had also grown sunflowers from seed and a Guess The Height of The Sunflower contest also proved popular. (The correct answer height was a bumper 350.5cm/ 11 foot six inches.)

Nor was there just flower power to admire for Joe, a widower, is a keen vegetable grower and cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, leeks, spring onions, peas and tomato crops were there to admire too.

Gathering funds amid a rainbow display of blooms

A handmade cards stand and a stall where Sophie Skellern made macrame keyrings added to the attractions and Michelle Unsworth of So Plants nursery near Longridge gave a demonstration of how to male a "bulb lasagne", planting a pot with layers of bulbs ready for a flower display next spring.

Joe also paid tribute to the help of his friend Jim McGowan who helps out in the garden. he said: "I don't do as much as I used to do. Jim does most of the serious tidying up. I get the ideas! Years ago when I was doing more of the garden myself I was out in the garden and a lady said I come round the corner and see the flowers and it makes me smile. That's enough for me. It's all that matters if you can make somebody feel happier."

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Visitors to the coffee morning - including Michell Unsworth (far right) of So Plants near Longridge, who gave a demonstration of how to make a "bulb lasagne" for a spring garden display.
The buntiong was put out to welcome visitors to Joe's garden and home in Ribbleton, Preston.
The wall panel in Joe's garden also shares his love of nature and is a reminder of the need for plant pollinators
Joe held a Guess The Height of The Sunflower competition
Jim McGowan, a friend who helps Joe in the garden, takes time to admire the display
Joe, pictured part way through the coffee morning, which continued well into the afternoon.
Part of Joe's colourful flower display