A GROUP of anonymous gardeners known only as the “Monday night poker lads” have paid a midnight visit to a charity to help out with weeding and planting.

Staff at Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington were surprised when they arrived at their office yesterday to discover the green-fingered good samaritans had visited during the night.

The anonymous gardeners weeded around the outside of the charity’s Bradbury House and installed half a dozen new planters with flowers.

Chief executive Helen Hunter said: “This has been an incredible surprise, we’ve all been working very hard on responding to the Coronavirus and the outside of the building was starting to look neglected.

“We’re so grateful to the Monday Night Poker Lads for all of their efforts and their generosity in donating the planters.

The Northern Echo: The only clue as to the identity of the mystery good samaritansThe only clue as to the identity of the mystery good samaritans

“The Lad’s work has really brightened up the building and made it a pleasant place for older people to come into again as we begin work to open the centre up over the coming months as the lockdown eases.”

After completing the work, they left only a typed poem to give a clue as to their identity.

It said: “Age UK had a weedy plight,

“Until some strangers came in the dead of night,

“Weeds were rooted in the ground and stuck,

“But with tools in had the strangers did pluck,

“New plants were left in new planters, job done,

“From the Monday Night Poker lads, enjoy, you’re welcome.”

Staff from the charity, who have been working throughout the pandemic to provide services for older people in Darlington and North Yorkshire, including providing home care, delivering food and offering befriending services, were delighted by the gesture.

Jonathan Ratcliffe, marketing officer, said: “It’s been such a tough time trying to help as many people as possible and staff have really been going above and beyond.

The Northern Echo: One of the planters left in the nightOne of the planters left in the night

“It just lifts everyone’s spirits. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Last week, the charity announced it was planning to close four of its offices – in Richmond, Northallerton, Harrogate and Beaumont Street, Darlington – and make seven staff redundant due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it has issued a reassurance that its frontline services will continue as normal.