‘We were devastated when our granddaughter Jemima was diagnosed with TSC, and we felt so helpless,’ says Diana Guy, former headteacher and, since 2013,
a committed fundraiser for the TSA.
‘It was a very difficult time for us all, and I remember initially having a tremendous feeling of helplessness.
‘But we wanted to do something, anything! So I thought to myself ‘Well, what can I do?’’
Diana, 68, a keen gardener, had already fundraised for other charities through the National Gardens Scheme, so she decided to combine her passion for
plants with the TSA’s Tea and SCones appeal.
And so in May 2013, Diana, supported by husband Alan, her then-heavily pregnant daughter-in-law Annie, son Chris, grandchild Jemima, and a whole host
of friends, opened the gardens of her home at Kitemoor Cottage to anyone who wanted to drop in for homemade scones and a cup of tea.
‘We’d done the National Gardens Scheme while we were living at a previous address,’ says Diana, ‘and we hadn’t intended to open the gardens at Kitemoor
Cottage at all. But after Jemima was diagnosed everything changed and I realised this was where I could so something constructive.’
Kitemoor first opened for Tea and SCones in May 2013, and thanks to a winning combination of lots of publicity beforehand, and the decision not to
charge for entry, but instead to ask people to make a donation of their choice after sampling her delicious home-made scones, the day was, as Diana
describes it, ‘non-stop.’
‘We didn’t charge entry, and we didn’t charge for tea or our lovely fresh homemade scones,’ says Diana. ‘All we did was ask people to leave a donation
of their choice – and that worked a treat. Some people gave a £1, some gave £20. We opened all day – from 11am to 4pm – so people could drop in
whenever they liked. We also made it as child-friendly as possible with swings and a sandpit, and it just took off. We had literally hundreds come
in. We were so lucky.’
Diana says that the key to her ‘luck’ is telling people about her event with plenty of notice.
‘I’m very lucky in that the local paper is supportive,’ she says, ‘so they run a little story about what we are planning to do well in advance. And
I buy a little advert with them too – so that helps as well.’
Diana also put signs up at key points roadside near her home so that passing motorists could see what was coming up. Here she summaries what she says
helps her to make the most of her garden and maximise the numbers of people dropping in for Tea and SCones for TSC:
- Jolly your garden up a bit
- offer as much seating as you can
- make it an all day event 11am to 4pm
- homemade scones are better if possible
- offer gluten free options
- offer no dairy options
- offer diabetic jam
- make it as family friendly as possible
- get news of your forthcoming event into your local free paper and remember to send in a thank you story with photos afterwards – they’ll most probably
print that too
- place a small ad too in your local free paper if you can afford it
- put up posters advertising the event in as many locations as possible two weeks in advance of the date, including your local doctor’s surgery and
- advertise your event on Facebook
- put in in the free events listings, or ‘things to do’ sections of your local papers and news sites
- use your existing network of friends and contacts to tell people about Tea and SCones
‘Everything you can do in advance will help to bring in more people,’ says Diana, ‘and you are not only bringing in revenue to the TSA, but you’re
also helping to raise awareness of TSC and the work of the TSA.’
Since her initial success of 2013 Diana has organised a further three ‘Tea & SCones for TSC in the Garden’weekends at Kitemoor Cottage and has,
to date, raised more than £9,000 for the TSA.
‘I’d say to anyone – just go for it,’says Diana. ‘Telling everyone about it beforehand and getting lots of publicity is the key.’