Garden plot tribute

The Marlborough Community Food Bank has paid tribute to one of its founding fathers by naming its new garden after him.

Tom Woodward helped set up the charity 20 years ago with a vision of developing a single organisation to distribute food parcels to those most in need.

The commemorative vegetable plot at the Community Gardens on Budge St, beside Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, was named The Tom Woodward Garden after he died in March.

However, as his wife explained, Mr Woodward always wanted to see the day when the food bank was no longer needed.

Pam Woodward said the family was thrilled by the charity's decision to name its new plot after Tom.

"It was so unexpected but such a fitting tribute. When we first got together we were struggling but having a garden was so helpful. It was very kind of them to think of him. The food bank was always very close to Tom's heart."

Marlborough Community Food Bank manager David Cosgrove said the vegetable garden was a perfect way to remember Mr Woodward, who he called the grandfather of the Food Bank movement.

"He put a lot of his own time into the food bank in those formative years."

When Mr Cosgrove started with the Marlborough Community Food Bank it distributed about 500 parcels a year. This year that figure will exceed 2000, he said.

"The number of parcels has increased exponentially over the years. The steepness [of the curve] is getting quite dramatic and I can't see it going down.

"That is just the way the world is, people's incomes may be increasing but not at the same rate as food costs. People are having to budget more tightly.

"Tom had the foresight to set up a single organisation instead of having 30 groups rushing around trying to get food from the same place, which would be very difficult. That was the vision they had and it works very well."

Those who attended Mr Woodward's funeral were asked to donate to the food bank rather than to his family, Mr Cosgrove said.

"Even to the end, he was giving to us."

The Marlborough Community Food Bank needs one or two volunteers to work about three hours a week to help maintain the commemorative garden, he said.

Anyone interested should contact David Cosgrove on 5792115.

The Marlborough Express