More than 200 people helped Parkes residents Ian and Marion Unger to raise $7,000 when they opened their hearts and garden over the long weekend to assist farming families stressed by drought.
People came from as far as Albert, Dubbo, Cowra and Coonabarabran to the amazing haven of trees, plants and shrubs dotted with inspiring signs and sayings of Avarest garden in Reymond Street.
The garden, with a panoramic view across town, has been kept beautiful by Ian and Marion in spite of the drought. “It’s important to try to save stock and crops from drought,” said Ian, “but the most important thing is to get people through it.”
All money raised from entry, auction and sale of nick-nacks will go towards helping stressed farmers to get away for a break. Ian said help from the local Parkes community was invaluable. “So many businesses, even those we knew were struggling, donated goods when asked. Not one of them knocked me back.”
The open garden fundraiser was supported by Lachlan Area Suicide Prevention Network and BlazeAid. Bob Fenwick of BlazeAid has already received seven sealed envelopes, but it is not too late to nominate if anyone knows a farmer who needs time away. He said farmers would often not ask for help.
For those who could not make it over the long weekend, Avarest will again be open for viewing this Sunday from 2 to 5pm.
By Beth Thomas