Fundraise Your Way

Irene Garden

Inspired by the care given to her beloved horses, animal lover Irene has fundraised in aid of the Dick Vet Equine Hospital for many years.

Name Irene Garden
Cause fundraised for

Dick Vet Equine Hospital

Method of fundraising


Irene alongside her horse Rupert

Why did you decide to fundraise for your chosen cause?

In 1979 my mare Pollyanna had a lifesaving operation at the Dick Vet Equine Hospital. She lived until 25 as a result of Professor P Dixon’s veterinary skills. My late parents started fundraising and giving donations to show our gratitude for the excellent care she received, as we wanted to give something back as a result.

In 2014, my horse Rupert had a lifesaving keyhole operation for a septic hygroma on his knee; he was in a plaster cast for six weeks in the Dick Vet Equine Hospital. Again, his care was 5 star from grooms, vet nurses, vet students, farriers and a highly skilled orthopaedic team.

My personal involvement with the Equine Hospital encouraged my two friends Fiona Tweedie and Nancy Czemerys to help me continue fundraising for the new Dick Vet Equine Diagnostic and Critical Care Unit. Fiona’s three children Lucy, Sophie and Daniel (who are all animal lovers ) helped too, it introduced them to this charity, and as a result, they have developed an understanding and appreciation of generosity.

How did you raise money?

In 1979, I worked as a primary school teacher and whilst in this job I was responsible for a wide range of fundraising activities with my pupils during National Pet Week in May. We held concerts, ran raffles, table top sales and held competitions for the whole school. The pupils produced a book about their pets and some were brought into school. The book sold out very quickly, we visited the Dick Vet Hospital and some of the vets came and did school talks. Pupils’ art and craftwork is displayed in the small animal hospital.

After Rupert’s operation Fiona, Nancy and I decided to hold a coffee morning at my house called Rupert’s big brew. Flyers were delivered to my local neighbourhood and many friends came and enjoyed a cuppa. We had home baked cakes; Fiona’s handmade craft items, a tombola and a Christmas table top sale. After this successful event, we decided to try to reach a total of £1,000. At Rupert’s yard we held a quiz for the children and another tombola which was well supported during their horse show. Car boot sales were next decided, Kerry Mackay, Senior Community Fundraising Officer provided collection tins, pens, pencils and flyers for us to hand out. When speaking to people at these events we found they liked to give to a cause that perhaps they have had a personal connection with. Many had a dog or cat treated at the Small Animal Hospital, but had not heard of the Equine Hospital.

It has been very rewarding. We work well as a team, are committed and creative, we motivate each other and it helps that we have good organisational skills. This helped us especially at 5.30am alarm wake up calls so we could be at car boot sale destinations to set up by 6.30am. It was hard work especially as weather was no barrier! The knowledge that helping a charity close to our hearts has been hugely empowering, made us proud of our achievements, and lifted our spirits.

We have plans to attend future car boot sales to continue this fundraising, look out for us!

Fundraising wisdom

Eye-catching posters about Rupert’s story were made by Fiona’s children and displayed which helped the public to notice our cause while telling them about the new Equine Diagnostic and Critical Care hospital. The collection tins even had people coming back and popping money in before going home. We had many shoppers who said they would look out for our next stand and always bought something from us. Some even not taking their change. They were interested in how close we were to our £1000 target. As a result we built up positive relationships with many generous and loyal supporters who always wished us well.

It is a privilege for Nancy, Fiona and myself to be ambassadors for the Dick Vet Equine Hospital while supporting the next generation of future equine vets.

No matter how much is raised I will never be able to thank all staff for their kindness, understanding, thoughtfulness and empathy and have always gone that extra mile to help me and my horses. Rupert now is a Veteran Horse Society member and is 24 years young and recently out competing again. Dreams do come true.

Related Links

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

The Dick Vet Equine Hospital