GARDEN lovers may need something more substantial than a carrier bag if they are planning on bringing home something from the annual Horsell Garden Safari plant sale.

This year, the organised tour of gardens in Horsell makes its return this weekend, 26 and 27 June, and there’s a chance to bid for a Pandemic Bench, which will be displayed at 10 High Street, Horsell on both days of the safari, and at the plant sale.

The funds raised from the sale of the bench as well as the wide range of plants and vegetables will all go towards a wish list of items for the Friends of Woking Community Hospital (FWCH).

The bench has famous quotes on the legs and back relevant to the lockdown and last 18 months.

As well as lines from fiction, there are titles of non-fiction books about Brexit, President Trump and biographies of famous people. Spaces have been left blank for the successful bidder to add their favourite title.

The sale of the bench will be conducted by sealed bids, which must be delivered to Jon Allan, FWCH chairman, at 10 High Street, Horsell, Woking GU21 4UT no later than Wednesday 30 June, after which the bids will be opened. The result will be declared by Saturday 3 July.

 To be valid, the bids must be in sealed envelopes, marked “Bid for pandemic bench” and must be signed by the bidder and show the name, postal address and email address and/or telephone number of the bidder, and the amount (in sterling) being bid.

The bench will go to the highest bidder. The bids will be numbered in order of receipt, and if two bids are for the same amount, the one received earlier will prevail.

Before the sale process was finalised, a friend of Jon’s offered £250 for the bench. Because it was not a sealed bid, it is being declared to other potential bidders. However, no other unsealed bids will be accepted.

Jon has also agreed that if the buyer is in the Woking area he will deliver the bench to that address and reassemble it. Otherwise the buyer must collect it.

The Garden Safari sale will also include plant pots and lots of compost. This year – as a result of COVID – credit and debit cards are not only accepted, but preferred.

* Entry to the event is £8 – children under 14 go free – which helps to raise funds for Horsell Village Hall. It runs on Saturday from 11am to 5pm and on Sunday from noon to 5pm. The organisers hope to welcome the Mayor of Woking Cllr Liam Lyons and Woking MP Jonathan Lord.