ALMOST £25,000 has been raised by a Kingswinford garden centre this year for a Dudley charity which supports people living with sight loss.

Ashwood Nurseries raised the funds for its 2017 chosen Sedgley-based cause the Beacon Centre during owner John Massey’s annual open days and hellebore tours, which saw thousands of visitors take a look behind his three acre private greenery.

The entire proceeds from garden entrance charges were donated to the charity, while many other projects and activities – including The Gift Shop’s Taste of Christmas event – also helped top up the total.

John and Ashwood’s charity co-ordinator Barbara Cartwright welcomed Vikki Millichamp and Martin Rock from Beacon, as well as Bill Wiggins, one of Beacon’s partially sighted members, into his garden to hand over a cheque for £24,859.16.

Martin, team leader at the charity’s independent living centre, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone at Ashwood Nurseries, and all its customers, for raising this amazing amount of money for us. It will enable us to continue supporting local people who are living with sight loss.

“At our Independent Living Centre in Sedgley we help people with visual impairments to maintain their independence, by helping them to learn new skills, such as cookery and using IT equipment.

“We also provide a wide range of social activities, such as arts & crafts, sporting events and exercise classes; activities that many of our members thought they could never take part in again after losing their sight.”

John added: “I feel strongly that we should support local charities especially in the light of so many funding cuts. I chose Beacon as Ashwood’s charity of the year for 2017 because I really admire the work they do in helping local people with sight loss.

“Opening my garden is a wonderful way to raise money, but we were also fortunate to receive a number of individual private donations from our wonderful customers and friends and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported our charity in any way, no matter how small.”

For 2018, Ashwood will be supporting the Black Country charity WINGS, which supports children and young people with special needs.

John’s garden charity open days will take place this year on Saturdays March 17, June 2, July 14 and August 18, September 29, while it will also open on Sunday, April 22, for the National Garden Scheme.