CAWTHORNE is keeping everything crossed for fine weather this weekend.

After days of downpours, residents are hoping and praying that the sun will shine for a flagship event for the village.

But organisers of the popular open gardens weekend say the show will go on - whatever the weather.

And parish councillor John Walker points out that the last time the event was staged - in 2017 - there were still problems with the weather.

Except then, it was too hot.

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“The weather did put some people off that year,” he said. “Because it was so warm. Temperatures were in the high-20s and many people said it was simply too hot to walk round. So every cloud and all that.

“As long as it doesn’t rain we will be happy.

“Saturday looks like being the better day. But it will do what it will do. There’s not much we can do except pray.”

Thousands of visitors are set to flock to Cawthorne for the horticultural treat.

The picturesque village is hosting its biennial event for the 12th time with 19 tip-top gardens open from 11am to 5pm tomorrow and Sunday.

The weekend will also feature a string of other attractions and Coun Walker promises ‘something for everyone’.

He said villagers have been ‘working like mad’ to get everything ready, with many having to buy extra plants because others were damaged by the recent heavy rain.

Live music will be played in some gardens with home-made refreshments available at several locations.

In the gardens themselves, visitors will find attractions as diverse as a model steam railway, an arboretum, streams, ponds and a show allotment.

Ample free parking in the centre of the village will be signposted and visitors are urged to use this to ensure roads remain clear and access is quick and easy. A free minibus shuttle will run at regular intervals, linking all the gardens and car park.

Entry to all gardens for the weekend is £6 per person. Children go free. Prizes, donated by local companies, will be raffled - the draw being at 4pm on Sunday on the village green.

Coun Walker said: “This is a wonderful event as it involves so many parishioners, both old and new. There is a real buzz about the place over the weekend and we are proud to show off our beautiful village and its delightful gardens. ”

Proceeds are in aid of much-needed repairs to All Saints Church, and the Exodus Children’s charity in Barnsley. Many village organisations will also benefit.

The Mayor of Barnsley Coun Pauline Markham is set to visit the gardens around 2pm tomorrow.

Clare hails healing power of gardening

CLARE BOTTOMLEY took part in her first Cawthorne Open Garden two years ago as a complete novice.

But she and her family - including three-year-old granddaughter Nelle Pearson, pictured - were bitten by the gardening bug following their efforts to reclaim the gardens which originally looked like a ‘jungle’.

Clare began to see the therapeutic benefits of gardening - but the activity has took on greater poignancy following the death of both her sister, Karen Dainty, and father, Robert Ellis, in the two years since the last open garden event.

“I had never even done any gardening before,” said Clare, 57, of Cliffe Hill, Cawthorne.

“I didn’t think I would be up for taking part, but it has had a healing and calming effect and it’s helped us come to terms with things and find some positives.”