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Lavender ladies

26 September 2014

ON A recent visit, the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, took the opportunity to thank the group of volunteer gardeners for their dedication in looking after the gardens of Whalley Abbey, in the Ribble Valley.

The diocesan retreat and conference house is set in the lovely gardens of the ruined Cistercian monastery, and the women from the Whalley in Bloom Community Group, who like to call themselves the "Lavender Ladies", meet there twice a month to tend the gardens and help the full-time gardener. They do everything from the kitchen-garden borders to maintaining the hanging baskets to keep the place looking its best.

The abbey is owned and managed by the diocesan board of finance, and the house is not only used as a retreat and conference centre, but also hosts business events and weddings. There is "four-star bed and breakfast accommodation" for those wishing to stay overnight or longer, and the grounds and ruins are also open to the public for a small fee.

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