Angela Durnford

Angela at the 2019 Plant Sale running the Advice Desk.

After a short illness, Angela Durnford passed away peacefully on Sunday 9th February 2020 with her family beside her.

Angela had been a key figure in the Marden Horticultural Society for many years and remained an active member right to the end. She stepped in as Chair in 2007 and was  instrumental in keeping the club going in the days when membership was down into the 20’s and there was a chance of it closing down. Angela remained Chair until 2010, after which she was Vice Chair from 2011 to 2013 and remained on the committee until 2015. Even after stepping down from the committee she was always available to give help and advice if needed


I first met Angela when I joined the Marden Horticultural Society Committee in 2008. It was at a time when membership was at an all time low and Angela as Chairman was instrumental in injecting enthusiasm among all of us to save the  club and stop it  from closing down. I remember saying “I’ll join the committee but I don’t want to be an officer”! Within a matter of months I became Treasurer and without Angela’s support and guidance I would have failed miserably having never held that position anywhere before. She was always at the end of the telephone and I seemed to be constantly popping in for a coffee and a list of questions. She became a good friend who always welcomed me into her home with a smile. I think it’s safe to say that without Angela, Marden Horticultural Society wouldn’t exist today.

After she left the committee she was very keen to help MHS in any way that she could, growing lovely plants for the plant sale and bringing along her gardening books to answer questions on the day of the sale itself. She would sit at a table in the hall and we would direct members of the public to her if they needed more information about certain plants.

I’ll miss seeing her at meetings and around the village with her sunny smile; rest in peace Angela.
Judy Taylor, MHS Committee member

When I joined MHS in 2015 Jenny Mallion was chairman, and it was only when I took over I found, in the box passed to me, loads of hand written notes and comments on scraps of paper that were from Angela.  I remember talking to her about it and she just laughed and it was this sense of fun that I found she always had.  She was so positive and it was thanks to her that MHS was able to start building up to the great society we have today.  She always supported me and would come and have a chat at the end of meetings to give her point of view.  I put a card through her door this week and her front garden was bursting into spring flower and looked beautiful, it was a very sad moment, but somebody else will benefit from it, which is what she would have liked.  
Jill Nichols, MHS Chair 2017-
Angela was the first Chair I worked with.  If it was not for her we would have folded (as I didn’t want to be Chair!). I think we had 25 members and we put two rows of chairs out at meetings!! She was supportive me arranging our first coach trip and knew how to run a meeting.  I had no idea and still don’t!!!  She was so supportive when I became Chair…showed me the ropes so to speak.  I’m just sad I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.
Zubeida Roberts, MHS Chair 2011 -2013
Such a lovely lady who transformed her small garden into a little Eden. She was always there to advise on plants, and lived life to the full. We all laughed at how she would drive off in first gear all the way and on doing a 3 point turn on the lawn she told me I am just turning round. Always one to join in, and try new games right up to the last. We shall miss her fun spirit, and the help given to those with dementia. Kindness through and through.
Julie Nicol Development manager at Bramley Court
 Angela gave me lots of advice about gardening and especially about my Agapanthes. She gave me some to plant that she had brought from Durham for her own garden, she told me ‘if these grew in Durham they’ll grow in Kent’. She was such a great person witty and fun, I will really miss her.
Kay East, MHS member
 A lovely lady with a small but beautiful garden which she opened for the garden safari when I first moved to Marden. It was what she had achieved in her garden that inspired me to redesign the similarly sized barren patch of purple slate and log roll that came with our house.
Alison Simpson, MHS committee member