CHRISTMAS has come early at Abbey Nursery in Titchfield.

Staff created a grotto as part of a fundraising day for the Rocky Appeal with Fareham mayor Pam Bryant also lending a hand.

Bosses at the garden centre in Mill Lane pledged to donate ten per cent of their takings towards the appeal to raise cash for a £2m specialist cancer laboratory for Portsmouth NHS hospitals.

The fundraising event was part of an open day at the nursery which is set to undergo a transformation under new bosses Q Garden Centres.

Abbey Garden Centre's Retail Director, Colin Rushby said: "The takeover by QGC has led to some new and exciting developments for the Centre. With QGC keen to involve the local people, schools and charities in our developments, we felt a family open day to both launch our exciting Magic of Christmas ranges together with a nominated charity was the way forward."

Rocky Appeal Co-ordinator Mick Lyons said: "Having a very short time to raise £2m, we need an army of supporters. We are very privileged to have the Q Garden Company backing this project."