Horndean garden centre’s winter wonderland raises money to help premature babies

A family enjoy the sleigh ride at Keydell Nurseries          Picture: Habibur Rahman
A family enjoy the sleigh ride at Keydell Nurseries Picture: Habibur Rahman
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ENTER a stunning winter wonderland at Keydell Nurseries – and you can help raise money for babies born with difficulties at the same time.

The Horndean garden centre has been putting on Santa’s Woodland Walk for the past six years.

And this year it is bigger and better – tripling in size from last year.

As you wind around the numerous displays, from Peter Pan to Harry Potter and Frozen, as well as more classical scenes of Father Christmas and his elves and plenty more, there are also various collection points for the neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu) at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

Sales assistant Charley Strange was part of the team who created the walk.

‘It took about six weeks for us to put the displays together, but we started converting the barn back in June – it was a greenhouse before this.

‘It’s at least three times the size it was last year.

‘There’s been a team of about five of us working on it. We had a lot of discussions about what we were going to do where, There was a lot of communication involved and a lot of late nights!

‘We’ve had so much positive feedback, it’s been lovely – some people have come back four or five times.

‘We’ve been raising money for Nicu because one of our team, Dan, his little girl was born six weeks premature, so she had to stay there. We’ve been trying to raise money for an incubator – they cost about £23,000, and I think we’re only about £5,000 off that now, so we’re hoping this will push us over the top.’

Nobuko Sekimoto, from Milton, Portsmouth, took her two-year-old twin sons, Dylan and Eric, who loved the experience.

She said: ‘We’d never been before, but we’d been hearing good things about it so we thought we’d give it a try.

‘We had a really good time, and it was much bigger than we thought it would be. The boys really enjoyed it – I think the scenes with the animals were their favourites.

‘The twins were born 11 weeks premature, so they had to stay in Nicu when they were born. It was really nice to see they were fundraising for the unit.’

Entry is £2 per adult, £1.20 per child up to 15, and £1.20 for wheelchair users (including one free carer).

Keydell is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, extending to 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. For more information go to keydellnurseries.co.uk.