THE organiser of the Steeple Ashton open gardens events will be passing on the baton as she retires after 20 years.

Gina Manning who has been a villager for 35 years has put on 11 events over the years and is now retiring to spend more time working in her own garden.

Keen gardener and photographer Kathryn Sewell will be taking over as organiser for the 2021 event.

Mrs Manning said: "I dont think it will feel too strange leaving because we have found such a super person to take over from me.

"I have been doing this for over 20 years now so it is about time for a change and some new ideas to be brought to the event.

"It has been great being a part of this event, but it is all down to the community of gardeners all we do is bring it all together.

"This years event will be the last one I organise before Kathryn takes over."

Mrs Sewell has lived in the village since 2016 and is looking forward to getting her hands dirty in the role.

She said: "I am slightly scared as there is so much organisation that goes into these events, but there is such a great support network.

"I am sure I will be calling up Gina a few times.

"It really is all about team work, everyone pulls together.

"Steeple Ashton very much feels like home now, it is so different to London where we came from."

A new gardening club has recently been formed in the village which could mean even more interest this year.

Mrs Sewell added: "The gardening club may be a natural way of getting more people involved, 40 people turned up to our last meeting which was good numbers."

The every-other-year event has been fundraising for the St Mary’s Church Preservation Trust, raising £40,000 since 2000.

This money has been spent on the preservation of the fabric of the church, an on-going programme that has included repairs to gargoyles and the porch at the hcurch entrance on the South side.

This year’s open gardens event will be held on Sunday, 2 June from 1.30pm to 6pm with a total of14 gardens taking part, which will feature a mix of large and small, grand and more modest gardens. Included will be The Manor, a 17th century listed building along with Ashton House which has the village’s largest garden.