A FATHER and his two young children from Didcot have been cleaning up people’s gardens to raise money for an independent school.

Martin Lahe and his children Lya, 12, and Johannes, nine, decided to take up gardening to raise funds for Alder Bridge School in Reading.  

The school hopes to raise £160,000 in total to compensate for the loss of income caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as creating a bursary fund.

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Herald Series: Johannes clearing up some weedsJohannes clearing up some weeds

The family have raised £644 in two weeks by mowing lawns, trimming hedges and bedding.

Mr Lahe, who also lives with his partner Mariam and four-year-old daughter Elina, said: “The school is great. It entwines academic learning with arts and which stimulates the brain and helps children grow into confident and caring individuals.

“It’s a great place and we want to improve the facilities and make the school more accessible with a bursary fund.

“So I thought, ‘How can I do my part?’ The season is right and I like gardening and so do my children so I put a post online and the response has been absolutely amazing.”

Herald Series: A before and after shot of their workA before and after shot of their work

The trio have been gardening for about an hour and a half each day and three hours at the weekend.

“It’s a lot of bedding,” said Mr Lahe. “Sweeping, hedge trimming, grass cutting. We don’t have a motorised tool so we have to use hedge trimmers to cut long grass and then use the manual push lawnmower.

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“We don’t set a price, we do the chore and providing people are happy they donate what they would like.”

Herald Series: The children sorting out some weeds in the gardenThe children sorting out some weeds in the garden

The family, who had hoped to raise £200, are now eager to reach £1,000 after their initial success.

“We’re so excited to carry on,” said Mr Lahe. “It’s been an absolute joy and the children really pull together and give their best.

“It’s good because instead of behind a smart phone they are out and doing things  they absolutely love it.

“I always try to keep them physically active. This is just another excuse to get them out and they have never once complained. It’s also been great to have quality time with them.”

Herald Series: The family hard at workThe family hard at work

A total of £34,661 has been raised for the school so far. A summer fete and open day will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 12pm to 3pm to help raise the funds.

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Mr Lahe added: “Hopefully this will inspire other parents and children to do the same. If we all did something like this we would raise a considerable amount of money.”

For the family’s gardening service, visit: facebook.com/ecogardeningkids/. To donate to the school, visit: gofundme.com/f/help-alder-bridge-school-build-a-brighter-future


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