A North Devon cancer patient and his wife opened their spectacular ‘secret gardens’ to the public in aid of a new cancer and wellbeing centre.
Martin Ash and his wife Judy have spent a decade creating the secret gardens at The Mill House in Fremington.
Imaginative planting, wooden bridges and viewing points of the brook enable visitors to glimpse pools and the odd fish.
Martin’s and other’s visually-witty works of art, are placed discreetly on your stroll and the old, derelict pigsty is now a bijou gallery, where local artists’ work has been exhibited.
During the open garden event, visitors enjoyed listening to eclectic sounds performed by many of the local gifted musicians, who have for years formed strong bonds with Martin musically.
Martin is perhaps better known by his stage alias of Sam Spoons, the spoon-wielding percussionist in the famous Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band from the late 1960s.
The Bonzos were renowned for their comedic mix of eclectic music and performance art, were frequently on TV and radio and had the top hit single I’m the Urban Spacemen produced by Paul McCartney and Gus Dudgeon in 1968.
One of Sam’s last big tour performances was in the Queen’s Theatre in 2012 with the Three Bonzo’s and a piano.
The couple hoped to raise £300 for Over and Above’s cancer centre appeal, but more than tripled their target.
Martin said: “We had a wonderful evening. It was very special having our friends performing in the garden and Judy and I would like to thank them and all the other people who helped so much in supporting the Over and Above event.
“We wanted to raise as much money as we could for the cancer and wellbeing appeal, and so I designed a thermometer strike post.
“On admission every visitor striked the post and donated a sum of money towards our £300 target.
“We were overwhelmed when the strikes continued on the back of the post and we then completed a further post raising a fantastic £907.24 for the cancer and wellbeing centre.”
Fundraiser Julie Whitton added: “It was a wonderful event in a magical setting - with so many areas where visitors could listen to music or just sit and ‘be’.”
To find out more about the appeal visit www.overandabove.org.uk.