Since 2003 the Sunbury Open Gardens scheme has raised over £60,000. Initially the funds went to the Sunbury Embroidery building fund, but in 2005 the Open Gardens were combined with those organised by St Mary’s Church and the funds shared. Local businesses have played an important role in supporting the event, especially Skinners in The Avenue who each year sell our tickets.
In 2006 the fund raising for the Gallery was complete and it opened that year. Not only does it house a magnificent embroidery capturing the spirit of Sunbury, both past and present, it also has a café serving the most delicious home made cakes, soups and sandwiches. The Gallery has become a focal point of village life as well as attracting visitors from all over the world. If you have not seen the embroidery a visit is recommended. The embroidery continues to support the Open Gardens by selling tickets and promoting the event.
As the Open Gardens had become part of village life, and was so successful in fundraising, the organisers looked for another cause to share the benefits with St Mary’s Church. They chose Shooting Star Children’s Hospice at Hampton. In 2010 the local fundraising group for the hospice served teas to nearly 700 visitors on the day. Over £6,500 was raised by the event that year and was shared equally between the two causes.
In 2014 Sunbury Open Gardens had a break due to the floods and since returning in 2015 the event supports different charities each year alongside St Mary’s Church. Parkinsons and Homelink Day Relief Centre is this year’s chosen charity.