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Hundreds visit Suffolk to mark the return of Eye Open Gardens



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Hundreds of people descended upon Eye this month as homeowners opened up their gardens to mark the welcome return of much-loved annual event.

Residents in the town centre, including in Castle Street, Church Street and Lambseth Street, swung open their gates to more than 500 visitors to mark the return of the first Eye Open Gardens (EOG) event in two years.

Eye Open Gardens visitors enjoying their time spent in Chandos Lodge. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Eye Open Gardens visitors enjoying their time spent in Chandos Lodge. Picture: Mark Bullimore

The event, held on June 11 and 12, was first set up by Church Street resident Lady Flaxman back in 1979, but had been cancelled for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Visitors lined the streets as they queued up to attend the annual event. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Visitors lined the streets as they queued up to attend the annual event. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“It was a very happy occasion”, said Christine Bird, head of the EOG organising committee.

“It went very well – the weather was great, we were in the fresh air and it was a happy, relaxing day.

“We had people all the way down Church Street, queuing for tickets.

Sally Sparrow welcoming visitors into her garden on Lambeth Street. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Sally Sparrow welcoming visitors into her garden on Lambeth Street. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“Because we had not been able to put on the event over the past two years, there was a happy atmosphere.

“I think it was a release of being stuck inside for so long and finally having the opportunity to go out, meet people and have a chat and a laugh.

“We had people from Canada, Ukraine – it’s quite amazing where people had come from.”

Eye Open Gardens organiser Christine Bird is joined by recently-elected Eye Town Mayor Richard Berry. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Eye Open Gardens organiser Christine Bird is joined by recently-elected Eye Town Mayor Richard Berry. Picture: Mark Bullimore

In addition to strolling through the more than 24 participating gardens, visitors had the opportunity to purchase an array of plants on offer, from geraniums and penstemons to strawberry plants.

A tombola was also held, with trade stalls throughout the town, selling tea, snacks and bric-à-brac.

The event was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of a number of local businesses, including Harrison Edge Estate Agents, in Castle Street, and Susan Whymark Funeral Services, in Whymark
Way.

Tricia Brown and Kathleen Knight selling plants to raise money for Eye Church. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Tricia Brown and Kathleen Knight selling plants to raise money for Eye Church. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“I think we need to give vital thanks to them for their sponsorship, and all the volunteers who helped out to make it such a success,” added Mrs Bird.



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