Dozens of landscapers and gardeners gave up their time on Sunday to help a cancer patient who continues her gruelling ten-year battle with the illness.
They responded to a plea made by Sarah Lawler to turn her good friend Ann Sandeman’s garden into a haven for her and her three children – Hannah, 14, Emma, 11, and Ben, ten.
Hastings resident Ann – who was diagnosed with cancer in August 2017 when she was 14 weeks pregnant with her third child – had been unable to clear her garden while it became overgrown.
Her friend Sarah – whom she met when they worked together at AA Insurance 25 years ago – appealed on Facebook for gardeners to help make Ann’s garden look ‘beautiful’ before approaching this newspaper to help spread the word.
She said: “On Sunday we had about 25 volunteers turn up at Ann’s house.
“Most of the people there had never met Ann but had heard about her either via the Facebook page #allaboutann or from the newspaper article.
“We managed to get a huge amount of work done although there is still some work to do.
“Sadly Annie was admitted to hospital (on Monday night) with an abscess on one of her tumours but she is now back home.”
Sarah said her team of volunteers helped cut back flower beds, replanted flowers, trimmed back trees and bushes and even rebuilt a wall that was dangerously close to collapsing.
Gardeners and landscapers were tasked with working on the front garden, according to Sarah, while others worked on the back garden.
Sarah also hopes a log cabin, provided by Wilderness Log Cabins, will be assembled this week to provide Ann with a quiet space while an outdoor table has also been donated.
Sarah added: “I just want to say thank you to everyone, you are all incredible. I have not got the words to express how much it all means.
“Everyone just pulled together and helped out.
“I wanted to say a huge thank you to the following people: Fiona Collins, who suggested she could do some gardening for Ann and thus started the whole thing off. Lisa Pickard, Karen Smith, Paula and Ryan Taylor, Mark Headland from Headland Landscapes, his wife Esme and son Lewis, Ian and Linda Baker, Nikki Thomas and Jacquie Trott, Louise Barnham, Chris Maule, Paul, Stella, David and John, who all came after seeing the article in the paper, Mandy Ashenden from Tesco Hastings Extra, Ben Barulis from BB Landscaping, Terry Merlin-George from Wildernest Log Buildings, and my husband Josh for the barbecue and my children Freddie and James for pruning anything that looked like it needed it, plus anyone who rang people or donated plants.
“This is beating cancer.”