A CHARITY fundraiser at a garden centre has grown into a healthy pot of money.

Poplar Nurseries hold an annual Christmas and biennial summer social events and over the past four years has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Some of the money has gone to support the Essex Air Ambulance and research into Motor Neurone Disease.

And nearly £5,000 also also been donated to the Cancer Centre Campaign to build a new centre to bring all cancer services together at Colchester General Hospital.

The nursery decided to support the campaign in memory of Harry Riley.

Mr Riley was chairman of the Poplar Nurseries Garden Club but died of cancer aged 73.

The club meets monthly at the nursery on the A120 near Marks Tey as well as having day trips out and a holiday.

Mr Riley's widow, Iris, said: "The club uses the nursery's facilities and our members support the events by helping to run the stalls."

Caroline Bates, fundraising manager for Colchester Hospitals Charity, said: "We are absolutely delighted the gardening club and Poplar Nurseries have continued to support the Cancer Centre Campaign.

"We always enjoy going along to the Christmas fundraiser at the nursery and joining in the fun.”

The £4.5 million appeal, which is supported by the Gazette, has so far raised more than £700,000 - but more money is still needed.

To support the campaign, text GAZE11 £10 to 70070 (or chose a different amount).

Cheques can be made payable to CoHoC Cancer Centre Campaign and sent to Colchester Hospitals Charity, Villa 10, Turner Road, Colchester, CO4 5J or go to www.cohoc.org.uk to donate money or see more ways of raising funds.