Titchmarsh to speak at Perennial's 175th anniversary event

The UK’s only charity dedicated to helping horticulturists in times of crisis celebrates its 175th anniversary this week at a party for supporters, horticulture industry representatives and people helped by Perennial.

Perennial’s Patron HRH Princess Alexandra and President Alan Titchmarsh will attend the event on 17 January, the date the organisation was founded 175 years ago at The Roof Gardens, Kensington.

Perennial’s President, Alan Titchmarsh, will call on the horticulture industry to stand together during 2014 in support of the only UK charity exclusively supporting people who work in horticulture and their families.

Speaking ahead of the event, Titchmarsh said: "My chosen career and love of gardens and gardening have given me more opportunity than most to appreciate the dedication, determination and sheer hardiness of those who work in horticulture.

"From grounds staff who meticulously prepare turf round the clock for both amateur and professional sportsmen and women to perform at their best to parks maintenance staff who lovingly tend borders and lawns for the enjoyment of all; gardeners, landscapers, designers, nurserymen and women all share a passion for plants and an understanding of the importance of our green spaces.

"The work of Perennial, a charity that exists exclusively to support and assist all those working in or retired from horticulture, is needed today more than ever. Horticulture is a profession not for those who covet wealth, but for those who know watching a seed grow and thrive has importance beyond the personal pleasure it provides. Simply, it is something on which we all depend."

To mark its 175th year and to galvanise its place in the minds of all those working in horticulture, Perennial is looking for support from all corners of the industry, as well as from the garden-loving public, to raise an additional £175,000 in 2014.

The extra funds will help to safeguard its services for those struggling with disability, debt or illness.

Perennial chief executive Richard Capewell said: "The work of Perennial – which is often described by those we help simply as a ‘lifeline’ – is needed now more than it ever was. The economic pressures on low-paid horticulturists too often result in debilitating stress.

"A high rate of injury, and subsequent long-term leave of absences, means that many workers in our industry struggle to make ends meet. We’d like to be able to help even more people this year and are looking for industry support to make our 175th birthday a really special one."

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