Gardening guru Mike returns the favour

Carole baxter presenting  Mike with his certificate.
Carole baxter presenting Mike with his certificate.

A Banchory resident has just been honoured with a prestigious award by one of BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden’s much-loved presenters.

Mike Strachan was presented with a well-deserved Perennial Champion certificate from Carole Baxter.

Perennial is the charity that helps anyone who makes or maintains gardens, parks, woodlands, sports grounds and other green spaces when they are facing tough times.

Mike reflects on the difference the charity has made to his life. “I worked in the local parks department for years and loved the work – I’ve always enjoyed working outdoors and being part of a team keeping Banchory looking good was the perfect job for me.

“That all changed when my wife had a stroke. I became her full-time carer and had to give up work. It put a huge strain on our finances – we hadn’t planned for me to stop working so early and soon found it difficult to keep up with payments.

“I heard about Perennial from social services. As soon as I spoke to someone there, I knew things were going to be alright. They helped me apply for support and ensured all our finances were in order.

“They advised me on how to cope as a carer and listened to me when I felt things were getting too much. It was such a relief to know someone was there for us and it was so much more than help with the bills.

“When things stabilised a bit and we started to fall into more of a routine, I felt I wanted to do something to show my appreciation for the help we’d received. Being a full-time carer is tiring but having Perennial by my side really helped.”

Mike decided he wanted to give something back so he started to fundraise locally.

“It gave me a huge boost to learn that my small contribution was making a difference.

“The certificate was a real surprise, and it was also lovely to meet Carole Baxter and the Perennial team,” he said.