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St Michael and All Angels Church removes seeds of doubt over Mill Hill Garden and Allotment Society show
A Mill Hill church practised what it preaches when it extended a helping hand to a neighbouring flower show left homeless after 64 years.
Following six decades at Hartley Hall, in Flower Lane, the Mill Hill Garden and Allotment Society was this year turfed out while the venue undergoes a huge redevelopment.
The future of the show was left in jeopardy when, after almost two years of searching, organisers were unable to find an alternative venue.
But when members of the St Michael and All Angels Church next door caught wind of the problem, they decided to love thy neighbour and hand the church over for the show.
The offer meant the historic community event went ahead on Saturday, much to the delight of visitors and the organising committee.
Show secretary Caroline Carey Stephenson said: “We were very lucky. We were all rather excited about it. It was somewhere new, somewhere different – they made us most welcome.
“If we had to move away from the Broadway it would have a severe impact on the numbers attending so it was important we stayed local.”
Despite the worst growing season Mrs Stephenson has known in 25 years, members produced the goods with a spectacular display of flowers, fruit, vegetables and preserves.
Visitor numbers remained as high as previous years, laying the foundations for a bright future at the Mill Hill club.
Priest in charge at St Michael’s, reverend Steven Young, said: “We didn’t want a year without the show and this is precisely the kind of thing the church is here for. It is people, not just the building – a community space as well as a worship space.
“It was fantastic and I’m really pleased we were able to work with the show. To host something that celebrates the glory of God’s creation in the church is perfect.”
The show will be hosted at the church again in 12 months time and organisers are now unsure whether they will be moving back to Hartley Hall once the redevelopment is complete.
Mrs Stephenson said: “If the hall in the new development is suitable we will consider going back but as it stands we had a very successful show in the church.
“This offer was very timely and it has secured the future of the club after two or three years of uncertainty. We’re looking forward to going back next year.”
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