The circle of life

by | 31 July 2023 | Local Charity, Retford

As the growing season finally gets under way, Muddy Fork, Retford’s Gardening for Wellbeing charity, has also experienced a significant loss.

The death of Gerald Griffin, although not exactly a surprise given his great age, has affected everyone deeply. A recent lunchtime gathering which celebrated his contributions to the garden was an emotional experience.

Gerald was already over 90 when he first appeared at Muddy Fork some years ago. It was hard to believe this, given his energy levels, sharp mind, and general sprightliness. Gerald was not only a knowledgeable gardener; he was also a skilled carpenter, whose structural work in the garden persists as a lasting memorial to him.

He was a friend to all, mentor to many, had a wicked sense of humour, and could be relied upon to remind everyone to take a tea-break. He will not be forgotten in a hurry.

He would have appreciated seeing the progress on the bank, which he helped create – now a colourful asset to the garden. Elsewhere, produce has been harvested, having survived the extremely unpredictable and variable weather this year and attacks by the usual predators. Potatoes and cabbages have been enjoyed, some of the fruit trees in the orchard are well laden, and the fig tree actually has a fig!

Meanwhile the wildlife continues to thrive, with sightings of frogs and grass snakes, and the bees are happy and in honey-producing mode. Honey is currently available for sale, along with redcurrant jelly made from what the birds decided not to eat…

Muddy Fork is pleased to hear from anyone who might like to know more. Referrals from agencies or self-referrals are always welcome and work can always be found for additional volunteers!

More details of the gardening sessions and on how to get involved can be found at or by emailing