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May the forks be with volunteer gardeners

16 July 2015


Teams of volunteers from Southend insurance firm Aviva swopped a day in the office to volunteer as gardeners for a day at Southend Hospital.

Armed with spades, forks and other essentials, two teams have visited within the space of weeks, working their green-fingered magic, with three more groups set to help out by the end of September.

And their help proved a godsend for hospital gardener Tony Haggar, who faces a one-man battle against fast-growing foliage, particularly at this time of year. "What they have done is just brilliant," he says. "It has helped us out so much."

The Aviva leadership got cracking last month planting wild grasses, weeding and digging the area around the multi-storey car park. Then team 7 from the Baxter Avenue company got stuck in late last week around the cardigan wing area of the hospital.

Claims handlers  Dan Cullingham and Ben Kelly, along with their boss, Gary Finden, team 7 manager, proved whizzes at tackling weeds outside at the lodge, the old matron's house near the Prittlewell Chase bus stops.

"Part of our corporate remit is to support our local community," explains Tanya Bellamy, communications, engagement and compliance manager. "And what better place than our local hospital?"