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Green-fingered talk for budding gardeners

Susie White
By Susie White

Susie is a gardener and author. She decided to give a talk for CPRE Northumberland to raise funds and attract new members.

I’ve known about CPRE all my life! My father was active in the Berkshire group, and my grandfather – with great foresight – made me a life member when I was a child. At one time I was the youngest life member in the country! Being a life member I have always been sent the magazine free of charge, so I wanted to give something back in some way. I regularly give talks on gardens, wildflowers, meadows and wildlife so it was an obvious choice to offer to give a fund and awareness-raising talk to CPRE Northumberland.

A life outdoors

I’ve worked in gardening all my life, for 23 years running the acclaimed Chesters Walled Garden, writing several gardening books and garden columns for magazines. The talk was something that could be promoted on social media and It was a new kind of event for the local group but it was very well attended, raised funds and brought in new members. I very much enjoyed the night, meeting people and having positive feedback. The talk also proved to be the catalyst for further unusual ideas and events.

I am very lucky to live in the beautiful North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and about which I wrote in the CPRE’s Countryside Voices magazine. I grew up in the countryside and our weekends would be spent on family walks, looking up flowers in books if we didn’t know what they were or picking brambles or sloes in autumn. It distresses me to see children growing up disconnected from the natural world and protecting green spaces is vital for providing the opportunity to get out and experience nature. Those early experiences on family walks looking at the countryside undoubtedly influenced me and for the past nine years I have written a Country Diary for the Guardian newspaper.


I’m so glad that I offered to give a talk. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I have made friends with people I would otherwise not have met. It was a novel way of volunteering, so I would say to others, look at what you can do and what you can offer; anything that celebrates our wonderful countryside.

Could you spare some time to volunteer for your local CPRE and stand with the countryside that you love? Learn more about the experience of volunteering for CPRE, the countryside charity, or drop us a line:

CPRE volunteer Susie White
CPRE volunteer Susie White Susie White


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