Stowell Park in Northleach boasts some of the best gardens to be found anywhere in the Cotswolds, with breathtaking views of the Coln Valley. The estate has been owned by the Vestey family since 1921 and extends over 5,500 acres of grassland and woodland. A garden party and tour attracted around 160 people and national chairman, Chris Riddle, was in attendance to give a brief update on the work of the charity.
In 2014, R.A.B.I helped people claim around £379k in state benefits and more than £297k was paid out in grants to working farmers. Much of the funding comes from public donations, events arranged by county committees, and support from businesses and community groups. Last year, R.A.B.I gave out grants of around £40k in Gloucestershire alone.
The Stowell Park event was organised by the Gloucestershire R.A.B.I committee, which is chaired by David Hewlett. Following a Pimms reception, farm manager Mike Dewar and gardener Neil Hewitson showed guests around the grounds. Neil has worked at Stowell Park for more than 30 years, helping to create a wonderful mix of terraces, exquisite borders, walled gardens, vineries, peach houses and herbaceous plants.
There was strong support from local businesses and the raffle prizes included a commissioned art work by Kate Chidley, which was won by Daryl Wallace. Music was provided by Club Django.
R.A.B.I regional manager Jenni Thompson said: “Events like this one don’t just come together and we are extremely grateful to all those who contributed to making the day such a success. The weather was perfect and it really was the epitome of British summertime; a Pimms reception on the terrace with glorious views across Gloucestershire.
“As a charity, R.A.B.I is extremely fortunate to have excellent volunteers and supporters such as those in our Gloucestershire committee – they provide a lot of joy for others whilst raising money for farming people who genuinely need their help.”
Pictured: R.A.B.I Gloucester chairman David Hewlett and Lord Vestey welcome guests