Celebrating 40 years of Thrive


By Thrive Ambassador Mark Lane
Thrive Ambassador Mark Lane

If like me you remember TV programmes such as Blankety Blank, Worzel Gummidge and To The Manor Born, as well as hearing the top hit song YMCA, then you may also remember that this was 40 years ago – a scary thought, but true. 

It was also the year, 1979, that Thrive opened its doors for the first time. 

I know a lot of people talk and write about the therapeutic benefits of gardening for both our mental and physical health but Thrive have championed this for the past four decades. 

Through its excellence of work at its three regional centres, as well as campaigns, lobbying, and just getting people outside gardening, they have continued to show their commitment to promoting these benefits and advocating for their inclusion in social prescribing by the NHS.

To mark its 40th year, Thrive is launching a campaign in the Spring promoting the health benefits of gardening. 

There will also be a 40th anniversary Thrive Reading flower show on 10 July, as well as the launch of a Thrive 40th anniversary flower, Antirrhinum majus 'Ruby’, which supporters will soon be able to buy. I know I shall buy this beautiful flower for my garden, so that I can share the love of gardening, the stories that this flower will bring to mind every time I see it, and simply the joy it will bring every year (once I have collected seed).

Profound impact

Worzel Gummidge was a popular TV show in my household and I loved the many interchangeable heads that John Pertwee used to put on. 

In both my career (garden design and TV work) and Thrive’s wonderful life-changing work, we wear many hats (not heads) to ensure that the social and therapeutic benefits of gardening are understood, promoted and carried out. 

For Thrive, this is made possible by its amazing supporters over the last 40 years and the support yet to come. 

With its many hats Thrive in the past year alone has helped 450 client gardeners, delivered 10,000 gardening sessions at the three regional centres, helped 3,000 people with gardening / STH enquiries and 94 per cent of client gardeners feel better after coming to Thrive.

The first time I visited Thrive it was very clear that the work undertaken, with the aid from supporters, has such a profound impact on client gardeners and visitors. 

Individuals who may never have spoken to another person, or thought that gardening was not for them, were engaged, enjoying themselves, exercising, learning, but more importantly seeing great improvements to their health and wellbeing. 

The staff at Thrive, who are often overlooked, are pivotal to the success of the charity and I know they will continue to thrive and remain committed for another 40 years. It has been just 40 years, and yet so much has happened – as an Ambassador for Thrive I hope to look back in 80 years and report on the wonderful work.

Happy 40th anniversary Thrive!