Furthermore, as a tutor, I developed a particular interest in Special Educational Needs & although I’ve never taught a deaf child, I am passionate about children having the opportunity to fulfil their potential. I met little Matthew & his mother at an Osmond concert before The Hearing Fund UK was launched & developed a friendship with them.  It’s great that Matthew is being given specialist tuition through The Hearing Fund UK, so that despite his hearing impairment, he can learn to play the violin!

Therefore, when my husband & I needed to mark some boundaries by hedging, I wanted to seize the chance to raise money for The Hearing Fund UK by making the planting a sponsored event.  Happily, my husband was amenable to the idea. I estimated that there were 153m of double-width beech hedge to be planted, incorporating 765 plants, so it was going to be a mammoth task!

hedge planting

We bought the plants in November 2012 as bare-rooted whips, 60-80cm tall. I was originally hoping to have them all planted by Christmas, but on receipt of the plants, the magnitude of the task began to hit home!  It took my husband & me a whole day just to heel the bundles into the vegetable plot!  (We had to do this for safe-keeping until each plant could be set in its final position.) My husband then declared that I couldn’t possibly manage to plant all these on my own & nobly insisted that he help me. However, I was concerned that the sponsors I’d already begun to sign up would think I was cheating, so we struck a deal that I would do the actual planting & my husband would help me with the ground preparation.

For each section of hedge, we first had to clear a strip a metre wide from competing vegetation.   We wanted to use any turf somewhere else.

The autumn had been very wet & the ground was still immensely soggy, so digging over it was more challenging than expected. However, when we hit an old farm road, buried for years beneath the grassy sward, the task had more in common with mining! I kept myself going by imagining that every stone I winkled out was ‘unblocking’ a deaf child’s ear!

After the rain came the snow & ice.  We were admittedly glad of the enforced breaks that these spells provided, while being concerned that time was marching on:  the bare-rooted planting season lasts from November to February. We worked on when we could & finally, after raking the ground over, we had enough prepared for me to start planting.

While I was planting, my husband was busy felling & digging out the roots of a few shrubs & young trees which lay in the path of the new hedge. He supplied the muscle. I’m so grateful for his help!

The difficulties of surveying through thickets & other practical problems meant that my estimate of 153m of ground to prepare turned out to be considerably on the low side:  by the end, I’d planted nearer 200m (albeit some of it single width) & the task had overrun – we were well into April! However, when I collected the money in, I was delighted to have raised £1,643.88 for The Hearing Fund UK!

I was honoured to be asked to give a talk on the hedge planting & to present Merrill himself with the cheque when he visited Leeds in June.

have lots of ideas for future fundraising: on to the next one!