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Willow grower to host rare open day for air ambulance charity

PUBLISHED: 15:38 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 04 September 2019

Robert Yates on a willow bridge at Brampton Willows, near Beccles, which will host a public open day on September 8. Picture: Nick Butcher

Robert Yates on a willow bridge at Brampton Willows, near Beccles, which will host a public open day on September 8. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A rare chance to tour one of East Anglia's more unusual farm crops will be on offer at a charity open day this weekend.

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

Brampton Willows is opening its gates for the first time in 15 years on Sunday, so visitors can walk around the firm's 18 acres of commercial willow beds and see some of the one-off artistic structures and fencing made from the trees.

Owner Robert Yates has been growing willow for 30 years in Brampton, near Beccles, which is made into high-grade woven fencing for clients including Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, as well as decorative structures for private buyers as far afield as the Seychelles and the Bahamas.

"I have been very fortunate in my career, and I wanted to give people the chance to look around, to give something back," he said.

"The last open day we had here was about 15 years ago as part of the National Garden Scheme and I felt it was about time we had another. But rather than having an open garden day, I felt we should do something different and have an 'open willow' day instead, to give people the chance to see some of our willow beds at their very best - we have several varieties and they all look different - some of them have grown 12 feet this year."

Brampton Willows will hold a public open day on September 8 in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Pictured: Some willow 'sails' on display. Picture: Brampton WillowsBrampton Willows will hold a public open day on September 8 in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Pictured: Some willow 'sails' on display. Picture: Brampton Willows

Although admission and car parking will be free, visitors will be asked to make a donation to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Mr Yates said: "We wanted to have an event to raise funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance as it is a cause close to everyone's hearts - you never know, you might one day need it for a close friend or member of your own family."

The event, from 10am to 4pm on Sunday September 8, will also include an art exhibition by well-established artists and craftsmen, and performances from local musicians.

- For more information, see the Brampton Willows website.

Brampton Willows will hold a public open day on September 8 in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Pictured: An aerial photo of the willow beds. Picture: Brampton WillowsBrampton Willows will hold a public open day on September 8 in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Pictured: An aerial photo of the willow beds. Picture: Brampton Willows

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