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Willow grower's 'amazing' open day raises £4,000 for air ambulance charity

PUBLISHED: 11:47 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:04 12 September 2019

Robert Yates, who grows willow for fencing and ornamental sculptures at Brampton, near Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

Robert Yates, who grows willow for fencing and ornamental sculptures at Brampton, near Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

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A willow grower near Beccles said he was amazed by the turnout at an open day which attracted 1,500 visitors and raised more than £4,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

An open day at Brampton Willows near Beccles raised £4,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Picture: Robert Yates.An open day at Brampton Willows near Beccles raised £4,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Picture: Robert Yates.

Brampton Willows opened its gates to the public for the first time in 15 years on Sunday, allowing people to tour the firm's 18 acres of commercial willow beds and see some of the one-off artistic structures and bespoke fencing made from the trees.

Business owner Robert Yates said: "I'm in somewhat of a state of shock as I thought we would be lucky to get more than 200 people to come to our little effort - I secretly hoped for perhaps 500 but not beyond my wildest dreams did I imagine what actually happened. We reckon that around 1,500 people came.

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"The volunteer from the air ambulance said he had never seen anything like it and, so far, the event has raised around £4,000.

An open day at Brampton Willows near Beccles raised �4,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Picture: Robert Yates.An open day at Brampton Willows near Beccles raised �4,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Picture: Robert Yates.

"I had no idea that so many people were interested in our little enterprise here and it's all rather humbling."

Mr Yates also praised the "incredible support" from local people and businesses, including professional curators managing the art exhibitions, and volunteers helping with the car parking and refreshments.

He added: "And we had local businesses doing anything from lending furniture for the tea area, to donating mountains of cake and even providing and installing temporary fencing around the site. Quite amazing."

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