Kyra Dickinson in her garden © UNP/ Mark Pinder
Kyra Dickinson in her garden © UNP/ Mark Pinder

As a teenager, Kyra volunteered for the Red Cross in France. Little did she realise what a huge role the organisation would come to play in her life. She remembers: “It went out of my life – I started studying, got married and moved to England to have a family.”

Years later, she rekindled the relationship. She says: “I just suddenly thought: I must go back to the Red Cross.” Now, Kyra has volunteered with the Red Cross for 48 years, where she has been instrumental in developing Open Gardens.

Kyra recognises it is the hard work of garden volunteers that makes the scheme so successful. She says: “We try and make sure that someone from the Red Cross goes to talk to the volunteers and garden opener and say thank you. You can’t take people for granted, especially when we’re a volunteer organisation.

“We make an enormous amount of money each summer – and the name of the Red Cross gets widely publicised. Open Gardens are fantastic from that point of view – a little table with gazebo and one of your garden volunteers explaining the Red Cross to everyone who passes.”

“It’s very rewarding to see how many people enjoy coming to the garden. People are just amazing, they still come whether it’s raining or it’s a beautiful sunny day. We always get people coming with their umbrellas and wellington boots.” Kyra has dedicated many years of her life to the Red Cross, and has no doubt that it will be a life-long relationship. She says: “Volunteering for the Red Cross is extremely rewarding. It gives you such a boost. You cannot think of doing other things, instead you just want to do all you can for the organisation.”

You can be an Open Gardens volunteer Find out how you can open your garden