I worked as a florist in Denmark Hill, London for over 20 years often receiving big contracts to create beautiful flower arrangements for major events and functions. This included functions and events for The Tate, Express Newspapers, Select Model Agency and the annual Turner Prize events.

Being a florist was not just a job but a passion of mine. During lockdown, I started growing vegetables in my garden and found it very satisfying and rewarding. My garden is my happy place.

When I was out walking and came across the Hospice allotment I thought I could contribute and help. I contacted the Hospice and joined as a Princess Alice Hospice allomenteer.

Currently, I am a carer to my husband who has suffered two strokes in the past 10 years, and I have no personal connections to Princess Alice, but my dad was diagnosed with cancer in May 2021, so I feel I am doing something to give back for the kindness and support which my Dad has received.

It is lovely to see the variety of seasonal vegetables and this summer we are growing runner beans, spinach, courgettes, rhubarb and strawberries and even exotic vegetables like pak choi and kohlrabi. We have a fantastic team who are very welcoming and make you feel included.

Since becoming an allotmenteer, I have received some interesting tips on growing fruit and vegetables. We share all sorts of tips and advice. I love cooking so when I get some vegetables or fruit it is a bonus and they always taste so delicious. I have been fortunate enough to take some produce home and have made a rhubarb crumble and Eton Mess with the strawberries. I even was given a recipe for rhubarb ketchup!

I love being at the allotment and it does have its challenges; like slugs that eat some of the vegetables and the struggle with arthritis in my hand. But you can do as much or as little as you’re able. Any help is appreciated and the Hospice is very flexible.

Since starting as a Princess Alice allotmenteer, I have been welcomed with open arms and met some incredible people. It is a very pleasant environment and it is a break from my caring role. I look forward to going to the allotment and time flies when I am there.

We are hoping to grow cut flowers soon which will put me right back in my previous vocation as a florist all those years ago. I have also enquired about volunteering at the local Princess Alice Hospice Charity shop as I enjoy talking to people and helping out in general.