Cou­ple’s petal power pays off

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By KIRSTEN BEACOCK kirsten.beacock@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

A GREEN-fin­gered city cou­ple have used flower power to raise a bloom­ing mar­vel­lous £10,000 for the chil­dren’s char­ity which helped their young grand­daugh­ter.

Mau­reen and Ray Cousins, from Nether­ton, have hosted grand gar­den par­ties at their home in Ather­stone Av­enue for the past 10 years to raise cash for the Chil­dren’s Liver Dis­ease Foun­da­tion (CLDF).

The char­ity has sup­ported the cou­ple’s fam­ily ever since their grand­daugh­ter Sally Bird (15) was di­ag­nosed with a life-threat­en­ing liver dis­ease.

Sally had to have a life-sav­ing liver trans­plant when she was just nine months old, but due to the ef­fects of the dis­ease and trans­plant, she will need to un­dergo med­i­cal checks and treat­ment – in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of fu­ture op­er­a­tions – for the rest of her life.

Mr and Mrs Cousins say the sup­port the CLDF give Sally, her 10-year-old sis­ter El­lie and par­ents, John and Sue, has made a huge dif­fer­ence.

Mrs Cousins said: “It’s such a wor­thy cause and helps Sally and her fam­ily when­ever they need it. I know, for ex­am­ple, that it will help Sally when she pro­gresses from pae­di­atric to adult liver ser­vices in a few years’ time.”

The cou­ple have held at least one plant sale each year, sell­ing plants, cakes and home-made jams and pre­serves.

They hosted their last gar­den sale on May 22 but are now hang­ing up their trow­els and end­ing the par­ties af­ter a decade of flo­ral fundrais­ing.

Mrs Cousins said this time they hoped to raise more money for CLDF than ever be­fore, par­tic­u­larly as the char­ity is cel­e­brat­ing its 30th birth­day.

She added: “Last year, we raised £1700, so it is ab­so­lutely mar­vel­lous that we man­aged to beat that with £1,800.”

Al­though there will be no more plant sales, Mr and Mrs Cousins will con­tinue to sup­port the CLDF.

Mrs Cousins said: “Ray and I will def­i­nitely be car­ry­ing on our fund-rais­ing for CLDF. Ray will con­tinue to sell his hang­ing bas­kets and home­made jams and pre­serves will be sold at lo­cal clubs, in- clud­ing Nether­ton Women’s Fed­er­a­tion, which has been a great sup­porter over the years.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of CLDF, Cather­ine Arkley, praised the cou­ple as “stal­wart sup­port­ers” and thanked them for their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

She added: “Their plant sale and tea are in­cred­i­bly well sup­ported and I’m sure that many lo­cals will miss it, but fully un­der­stand that it in­volves a huge amount of work.

“Sally is one of our grow­ing group of teenagers and young adults who are liv­ing life to the full, de­spite dev­as­tat­ing set­backs to their health.

“Sup­port­ing them by pro­vid­ing tai­lored young peo­ple’s ser­vices, such as a ded­i­cated web­site, cldf-fo­cus.org and plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to share their ex­pe­ri­ences, is vi­tal to en­sure they reach their full po­ten­tial in life.”

BLOOM­ING MAR­VEL­LOUS: Sally Bird (sec­ond left) with (from left) mum Su­san Bird, grand­mother Mau­reen Cousins, sis­ter El­lie Bird, dad John Bird and grand­fa­ther Ray Cousins at the fi­nal fundrais­ing plant sale in Ather­stone Av­enue.

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