Trewithen Gardens has proved the perfect tonic for a former occupational therapist who retired early from the NHS due to ill health.

After just a few months volunteer work at the Estate based near Probus, Truro, Helen Perrott, from Ladock, says she feels like a new woman and is considering taking Royal Horticultural Society qualifications with a view to a pursuing a career in gardening.

Helen loved her job as an occupational therapist but when her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome deteriorated further the symptoms and secondary depression made it impossible to continue in this line of work.

Whilst she was signed off work, Helen began growing her own vegetables and enjoyed it so much that she jumped at the chance of joining the volunteer gardeners at Trewithen.

Helen said: “At Trewithen I feel able, confident and appreciated, it’s just brilliant. My partner is delighted as well because he says my Trewithen experience has got me back to my old self. We’re getting married in the autumn.”

“One of the first jobs I helped with was planting the new rose garden. I’ve never been much of a fan of roses but I’ve spent so much time nurturing and tending them that I love them now. The garden is in full bloom and it’s absolutely beautiful – I feel a bit like it’s my garden.”

Helen began by working one day a week but recently increased that to two days.

She said: “I love the work, the team are incredibly supportive and as a volunteer I even get a free lunch at the tea room on the days I work, my travel expenses paid, a free pass to the garden for me and a friend and a 10% discount at the nursery.”

Trewithen’s Head Gardener, Gary Long, said: “It’s great Helen is enjoying herself so much at Trewithen. We’re all delighted she has applied to take RHS qualifications and like all the volunteers her help is invaluable.”

Anyone who feels they would like to work as a volunteer gardener at Trewithen should contact Gary on 01726 883647.