Green-fingered Garvagh man recognised for 25 years of fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support

Green-fingered Garvagh man recognised for 25 years of fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support

Mon, January 08, 2024

Council’s Move More coordinator Catherine King has paid tribute to a local man who has used his love of gardening to raise over £175,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, while also helping countless people along their cancer journey.

Andrew McClarty, who began raising money for the charity 25 years ago, uses his gardening expertise to provide therapy to people affected by cancer and their families.

From his polytunnel in Garvagh, Andrew works alongside Catherine to provide opportunities for people in the Borough living with cancer to experience the health and well-being benefits of gardening. The ‘Feel-Good Gardening’ initiative, part of Council’s Macmillan Move More campaign, allows participants to learn about plug and bulb planting from root to shoot.

Recently, over 50 Move More participants and their families celebrated Christmas by designing wreaths under Andrew’s watchful eye, enjoying the festive atmosphere from the aroma of the ferns and eucalyptus to the delicious mince pies. 

Praising Andrew for his passion and dedication to Macmillan over the last two-and-a-half decades, Catherine said: “Andrew has been an incredible asset, freely giving up his time and sharing so much of his knowledge about gardening.

“We have had three wonderful years running the Feel-Good Gardening project out of Andrew’s polytunnel, allowing people impacted by cancer to meet other people in a similar situation, helping to reduce the loneliness and isolation associated with cancer.

"Gardening is a type of physical activity everyone can enjoy before, during and after cancer treatment. Keeping active can help prevent and manage some of the side effects of cancer treatment, such as fatigue, depression, and risks to heart health.”

Many people living with cancer want to make positive changes to their lives and taking steps to have a healthier lifestyle can be a big part of this. Move More ensures that everyone living with cancer in Northern Ireland is aware of the benefits of physical activity and is enabled to choose to become and to stay active at a level that’s right for them.

Explaining the benefits of the project, Move More participant Clare Robertson said: "We attend the gardening activity once a month, we plant bulbs and seeds, and when we return the next month, we can see all the growth that has happened during that time; it gives us a sense of hope.

“I got involved in Move More just over a year ago after I had cancer for the second time. I was referred to the Council's Macmillan Move More Coordinator, Catherine King, and I have been attending all the activities, the exercise, group walks and Gardening.

“We don't talk about cancer all the time, but sometimes it's useful for people to discuss and compare where they are on their cancer journey and to know that they are not alone."

The Macmillan Move More programme is an innovative project designed to help anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer in the local area to get active and remain active. To get involved in the Move More programme, please contact:

t: 028 27660210   

m: 07597 399765 


Andrew McClarty pictured at his polytunnel in Garvagh with Catherine King, Macmillan Move More Coordinator; Jodie McAneaney, Macmillan Relationship Fundraising Manager and Nuala Harraghy, Macmillan Partnership Quality Lead Catherine King, Macmillan Move More Coordinator and Melanie Orr, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Move More participant Jenny Maginn and Pauline McNeill adding decorations to their Christmas wreaths as part of the Feel-Good Gardening initiative. Move More participant’s and their families designing Christmas wreaths at Garvagh polytunnel. Move More participant Paddy Canning and his daughter displaying their Christmas wreath