90 gardens tour ends with a visit to Horatio’s Garden, Stoke Mandeville Hospital

On 11th December Julia Stafford Allen, County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) in Norfolk visited her 90th garden of the year, to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the NGS raising money for nursing charities. To mark this admirable achievement Julia wanted to make the final visit a special one, and arranged to view the continued work on the newest Horatio’s Garden, set to open in early April next year for patients at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Julia was accompanied by Joe Swift; Garden Designer, TV Personality and Designer of the new Horatio’s Garden at Stoke Mandeville, and Olivia Chapple; Founder and Chair of Horatio’s Garden.

Julia saw the opportunity to visit the latest Horatio’s Garden, one which the National Garden Scheme has helped fund, as a fitting end to her celebratory tour of 90 gardens, which started in January this year.

Regarding her final visit Julia said: “Horatio’s Garden and The National Garden Scheme have closely aligned values and the work that has been achieved through the NGS donation for the Stoke Mandeville appeal will see this relationship captured in a physical project that will benefit spinal unit patients and their families for years to come.”

George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme has said: “The National Garden Scheme donated £130,000 to the Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville capital appeal in 2016 and I have personally been to each unveiling at the garden, to see the progress. Julia’s tremendous efforts to visit 90 gardens this year has been a great celebration of our 90th anniversary and it’s a huge delight for everyone involved to end her tour with a trip to a garden that will have a hugely positive impact to so many spinal patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the future.”

Joe Swift, who has designed the garden said: “I really enjoyed visiting the garden and talking to the NGS team about the transformation of what was an underused, uninviting space into an accessible, vibrant garden where patients, family and friends can spend time together outdoors.”

Olivia Chapple, Founder and Chair of Horatio’s Garden, said: “Horatio’s Garden is so grateful to every visitor to NGS gardens, the garden owners and the trustees of this brilliant organisation for their generous donation which has helped to create a therapeutic garden in the heart of the NHS which will benefit many people for years to come”.

Nigel Henderson, Clinical Director at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said: “I know just how much this garden will mean to patients of all ages, particularly as many need to stay with us for a long time. Having such a beautiful outside space will be hugely beneficial and have a positive impact on their wellbeing. On behalf of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, I would like to thank all those involved with Horatio’s Garden for choosing to work with Stoke Mandeville.”

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