TENS of thousands of pounds were raised for charities by staff and customers of a garden centre.

Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree held tea parties, staff competitions, workshops and tours to gardening groups at its site throughout 2018.

Seven colleagues even skydived 13,000ft while another completed 18 half marathons throughout the year and two cyclists biked hundreds of kilometres.

More than £26,000 was raised for Mid and North East Essex Mind, Marie Curie and Greenfingers.

Hannah Powell, communications and business development at Perrywood, said: “Throughout 2018, our staff and customers raised a total of £26,120 for our chosen charities, exceeding our target of £15,000. “We are proud of all of our team’s fundraising efforts and we couldn’t thank our customers enough who have also played an important part of this achievement.

“We are delighted to be supporting Kids Inspire, Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity and Greenfingers in 2019 and we look forward to making a difference to these organisations throughout the year.

“Our first fundraising event will be the Greenfingers charity quiz night on Thursday March 21.”

It isn’t the only generous gifts Perrywood gave out last year.

Last summer coffee shop staff used their tips to purchase 24 fans which were donated to various wards at Colchester Hospital. The staff hand delivered the fans and cakes for nurses, patients and their families.

In December, the team raised a further £2,700 to buy 350 presents for patients at the hospital. Perrywood also donated 20 festive planters to NHS staff who went above and beyond their duty of care.

Local schools have also benefitted, with Perrywoood donating £5,000 of plants and gardening equipment to them.