A sunny day in July and the leafy courtyard of Horsenden Farm was the perfect back drop for the first ever event hosted by the Friends of Horsenden for a fellow volunteer group. The tea party was all about recognising and celebrating the efforts of LAGER Can, a collective of local people who work tirelessly and cheerfully keeping Ealing’s green spaces litter free. LAGER Can volunteers were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June 2021, and the tea party was our way of thanking them.
The tea party idea came about following a distressing car break in. Horsenden volunteer Lynda O’Hare was at the farm to help with various activities on a busy Saturday in May. She left her car in the car park at the farm, her handbag, suitcase and other items all stowed safely in the boot. Or so she thought. “I went to get a bottle of water at around 1.30pm and about 20 minutes later someone told me my back window had been smashed.” Lynda explained. The thieves got away with a laptop, clothing, handbag, purse and all its contents. Being robbed is a horrible experience and one that takes time to recover from and Lynda was devastated.
The next morning, LAGER Can volunteers were out on a litter pick and they found a handbag, discarded in bushes near Paradise Fields. Picker Sue Ball took it home and posted a photo on Facebook. Lynda recognised the bag as hers, and thanks to Sue and husband Fred, was soon reunited with it. Lynda picks up the story; “This gesture reminded me of the care and kindness that is all around us. Sue saw the handbag and was really upset; she was determined to return it to its owner. For me this is everything. The valuables I lost can be replaced, the inconvenience of stopping credit cards is soon forgotten. I realised that as long as we celebrate goodness and kindness, we can overcome bad things and move on from them.”
Move on she did. Lynda wanted to do something special to thank Sue and her fellow LAGER Can volunteers and that’s where the idea of a tea party came up. Lynda mentioned it to the volunteer teams at Horsenden and everyone wanted to get involved. From baking cakes and scones, to preparing the courtyard, to making cash donations and piles of sandwiches on the day the team worked their socks off.
With 35 LAGER Can volunteers, 10 junior volunteers, 3 local councillors and 15 Friends of Horsenden volunteers, this was a tea party to be proud of! Luckily there were enough sandwiches, slices of cake, scones (made Cornwall style, jam first then cream) and cups of tea served by Lynda and the Friends to feed and water this small army.
There was such an abundance of mouth-watering baked treats that there were even a few leftover slices of cake. In the eco-friendly spirit in which the farm operates, they were selflessly rescued (and later devoured) by supporters.
For many there, the tea party was the first opportunity in a long time to meet with their fellow volunteer friends in a social setting. Sandy wrote to say:
Thank you so much for the planning, preparing, cooking, cleaning and teamwork. It was much appreciated and thoroughly enjoyable. To meet some old acquaintances, new ones and regulars – brilliant. There was so much joy and laughter in a safe environment. Thankyou again. God Bless From Sandy.
A big (and well-deserved) thank you to LAGER Can for all that you do in keeping Ealing’s places of nature we all love, so beautiful and cared for. It truly is appreciated, and we hope you know how grateful we all are.
Same time next year?