Donors are digging deep for Horatio's Garden at RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital

Reporter:

Emily Davies

An appeal to create a stunning garden in the grounds of the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen has been officially launched.

Funding for Horatio’s Garden – which will cost £675,000 – has already reached the halfway point.

Designed by award-winning gardener Bunny Guinness, it will be based at the Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries and will be only the fourth in the country.

A launch event at Brynkinalt Hall in Chirk on Thursday provided the Gardeners’ Question Time presenter with an opportunity to talk about the exciting project to prospective donors and supporters.

She told the Advertizer: “We want to create a lovely atmosphere and an area with a communal feel so it makes conversations easier.

“We want it to feel more like a garden and less like a hospital if we can.

“There will be a little play area and little wheelchairs for children who are visiting so they can mimic the adults, and also a practice area for those who are learning to use wheelchairs.”

Bunny, who has visited the hospital on a number of occasions, was also full of praise for the patients, families, friends and staff who have contributed to the project so far, adding: “They are so supportive in making a difference.”

A soft launch of the appeal took place at Chelsea Flower Show earlier in the year and has already provided a boost to the project.

Last week’s gathering provided a chance to explain how the garden will benefit patients, how volunteers can get involved, and also the long-term work which will take place there – which will see Bunny remain involved for years to come.

Dr Olivia Chapple, whose son inspired the charity, said one of the key objectives was for the garden to offer volunteering opportunities to support patients, while also inviting artists, musicians and exhibitions.

One of the key aspects of the design at the Orthopaedic is a garden room – complete with a kitchen and a screen for cinema evenings – which will ensure patients are protected from the elements but can still use the garden to host visits from family and friends.

It will wrap the spinal injuries unit on two sides, ensuring all patients could see it, plus flowing water, a greenhouse and a woodland pathway.

There will also be raised beds for patients to grow their own vegetables.

Dr Chapple added: “We are creating an incredible space which is going to be outside the hospital environment. It’s going to be very natural, everything you don’t experience in the clinical environment.

“Whatever the weather you will be able to get into the garden and enjoy being away from the ward.”

The charity which has led to the creation of the gardens was inspired by Horatio Chapple, a teenager who wanted to be a doctor and volunteered at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Unit in Salisbury.

Along with his father David he came up with a plan to create a garden there, but tragically, at the age of 17, he was killed by a polar bear during a trip to the Arctic. His lasting legacy are the gardens which have since been created, with the one at Salisbury becoming the first to open in 2012.

There are plenty of ways to support the project, including buying some of the items available online at the Horatio’s Garden shop, including mugs designed by Emma Bridgewater, and Christmas cards.

Dr Chapple added: “We are more than halfway there with the fundraising, which is really exciting, but we can’t begin the build until we have all the money. We’re urging anyone who can get involved to help out, whether that is running a 5km, hosting a cake sale or anything else.

“We hope that by this time next year we will have started work and it is expected to take around six months to complete.”

Mark Brandreth, chief executive of Orthopaedic Hospital, said: “It is fantastic that we are already halfway to the fundraising target of almost £700,000 – I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to the appeal.

“We are so grateful to Horatio’s Garden and to our League of Friends for the work they are doing to make this happen.

“We aspire to be a world class hospital and this garden will certainly be a world class facility that will make a massive impact on the experience of our spinal injury patients.

“It was an honour to be at Brynkinalt Hall on Friday evening for the regional launch event. The passion of everybody involved in this project was clear to see, and I have no doubt it will be a success.”

To find out more about the project visit www.horatiosgarden.org.uk/horatios- garden/oswestry where you can also find details how to donate.

Alternatively, visit www.facebook.com/ horatiosgarden or shop.horatiosgarden.org.uk to buy some of the items to support the project, or for volunteering email info@horatiosgarden.org.uk or call 07429 140918.

Email:

emily.davies@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Advertizer

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