Blooming beauties: Pictured at Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village's garden party and art trail fundraiser are, from left, Jean Britton, Cheryl Graham, Jane Brough, Helen Paterson and Velda Frobarth


Guests donned their best in Arrowtown last Saturday afternoon for a special garden party and art trail event, held to raise money for the Southland Charity Hospital.

Established in 2019 following Southlander Blair Vining’s highly-publicised battle with terminal bowel cancer, the hospital’s been founded by the community, for the community and — once completed — will provide free services to those in the southern half of New Zealand who can’t access care through the public or private health systems.

Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village manager Robyn Frey says at least 200 people turned out, including Vining’s parents, to enjoy classical music and a Devonshire tea, while browsing a special art exhibition, some of which was for sale, as were fresh blooms and hanging baskets.

The artworks were a combination of pieces made by local artists — a percentage of proceeds from sales going to the charity — and pieces from residents’ private collections.

‘‘We’d ask them to select something that was very personal to them and to display that with a little story about why … they’d chosen it.’’

Included was a piece by Arrowtown’s Graham Brinsley, which was Vining’s favourite and will hopefully hang in the new hospital.

Frey says the event raised $2500 for the cause, which was ‘‘fantastic’’.

‘‘Our residents were very keen to support that charity and we decided that we’d adopt that this year’’ — their first fundraiser was at the Lake Hayes A&P Show, where they had baking for sale, and that raised about $800.

Frey says judges were also doing the rounds to decide on the best dressed at the event — Robin Zinzan took out the ladies title, while John Lapsley won the men’s.