Garden party raises cash for Crawley Hospital stroke unit

Fundraiser Maria Hains (third from left) hosted a garden party for the Crawley Hospital League of Friends. Pictured with Lorna Walton from Ifield Co-op and Crawley mayor Raj Sharma and his wife mayoress Bhavna - submitted

Fundraiser Maria Hains (third from left) hosted a garden party for the Crawley Hospital League of Friends. Pictured with Lorna Walton from Ifield Co-op and Crawley mayor Raj Sharma and his wife mayoress Bhavna - submitted

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Dedicated Crawley Hospital fundraiser Maria Hains has held her annual garden party to raise vital funds for a new garden for stroke patients.

Maria entertained about 50 guest at her home in Three Bridges on July 16, including some residents of Francis Court Care Home in Copthorne.

There was live music from country and western band Black Gold and, to Maria’s surprise, some belly dancers also provided entertainment.

Other guests included Crawley mayor Raj Sharma, mayoress Bhavna Sharma and Henry Smith MP.

Maria said: “It was amazing. The MP Henry Smith came. He told me ‘I couldn’t miss this - not for you’. We had old friends and new friends. The amount of food and cakes there were.

“Thank you to all the helpers I had. There’s no way I could do it on my own. It was such a lovely day; a happy day.”

People baked cakes, made sandwiches and the Crawley Leisure Park Pizza Hut donated 30 pizzas. The Ifield Co-op donated salads and sent Lorna Walton to help serve the food.

A total of £353.71 was raised towards the stroke garden project at Crawley Hospital.

Chairman of the League Lesley Marginson said: “The League of Friends is spending over £10,000 to make some improvements to the garden.

“The seating area has been enlarged and new furniture purchased, external speakers have been put in the flower beds so patients can do their exercises outside to music or just relax in the garden.

“Planting of dementia friendly plants and mobiles will be starting soon.”

helpers needed

Originally from Italy, Maria, 73, spends all her spare time raising money for the League of Friends and other town charities.

She said: “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I don’t know how many more years (I can do). We are all getting on. I have been here for 54 years and I wouldn’t go anywhere else. The people of Crawley are so generous.”

The League needs people to help them at their ‘good as new’ sale at the hospital every Monday and Thursday. They are also in need of donations.

For more information call Maria on 01293 403432.