Greatham Village prepares for annual Snowdrop Sunday celebration

A village will once again welcome hundreds of visitors who flock to see the splendour of its snowdrops display.

The annual Snowdrop Afternoon takes place in Greatham Village on Sunday afternoon.

Hospital of God Greatham head gardner John Churchman attending to the flowerbeds . Picture by FRANK REID

Hospital of God Greatham head gardner John Churchman attending to the flowerbeds . Picture by FRANK REID

It is a once in a year chance for people to marvel at the mass of flowers in a garden which is closed to the public for the rest of the year.

Gardeners at the Hospital of God charity in Greatham are busy putting the final preparations in place.

Head gardener John Churchman said: “They are looking splendid this year. It is in our own private woodland area and we open it for one day for Snowdrop Sunday.

“There must be thousands of snowdrops. Alan McManus, a horticultural tutor at East Durham College, says it is probably one of the best displays in the North East.”

Hospital of God Greatham flowerbeds . Picture by FRANK REID

Hospital of God Greatham flowerbeds . Picture by FRANK REID

Visitors will be guided through the grounds by following a straw yellow trail marked out on the ground.

The event has grown in popularity over the years.

John added: “It is a much bigger thing now than when I first started. It has been improved a lot.

“The walk now is a lot longer. Before you used to be in and out quite quickly but now it meanders to the bank side and it looks very nice.

“We have a transplanting programme every year where we try to introduce the snowdrops to some areas where it has been a bit devoid of them.

“Throughout the day there is a constant stream of people. Usually a few hundred people turn up.”

Greatham Hall Gardens will be open between 1pm and 4.30pm on Sunday, February 26.

People will also be able to hear some of the story behind the Hospital of God, which was founded in 743.

Visitors are advised to wear sensible shoes. Tickets and refreshments will be available from Greatham Community Centre, on Front Street. Entry is £2 and £1 for accompanied children.

All proceeds will go to the Greatham in Bloom campaign.

The community group works hard to keep the village looking its best and leads Greatham’s entry in Northumbria in Bloom competition every year.

Dorothy Clark, chair of Greatham in Bloom, said: “Snowdrop Sunday is our biggest fundraiser for the year.

“We get our funding for all the flowers and other things and we are very grateful to the Hospital of God for their support.”