2KBW are proud to support Horatio’s Garden, an award-winning charity that creates and cares for beautiful, accessible gardens in the heart of NHS regional spinal injury centres. The charity grew from the vision of an inspirational schoolboy.
In the summer holiday of 2011, Horatio Chapple was preparing his application to medical school and volunteering at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury Hospital. He believed that patients, who stay for many months in hospital, would really benefit from being able to get outside into nature. He devised a questionnaire to gather patients’ feedback. Driven by their overwhelmingly positive response, Horatio found the perfect location for a garden right next to the spinal centre and started to plan fundraising activities.
Horatio never got to see his garden grow. Later that summer, he was killed by a polar bear while on expedition in Svalbard. Donations in his memory flooded in from family, friends and strangers alike. A year later, Horatio’s Garden Salisbury opened.
Designed by six-time RHS gold medal winner, Cleve West, Horatio’s Garden is a stunning sanctuary with an air of tranquillity and peacefulness. It is designed to nourish the soul with the gentle sound of flowing water, trees and perennial planting that provides ever-changing colour, scent and interest. Grasses gently catch the breeze and birds, bees and butterflies have made their home there. Sculptures nestle in the planting. It feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of a hospital ward.
Curved limestone walls draw the eye to the gentle hills beyond the garden. An archway has many varieties of English eating apples and is intertwined with wisteria. The summerhouse and parasols provide shade and a heated garden room gives shelter on chilly days.
The head gardener, supported by a team of volunteers, keeps Horatio’s Garden looking its absolute best all-year round. They’re also on hand to chat with over a cup of tea and a slice of home-baked cake. They organise live music concerts and lunch in the garden’s large gathering space and run creative and therapeutic activities such as art and garden therapy. Patients’ family and friends are encouraged to join in too.
Myfanwy Foster was a patient at the Salisbury spinal centre in 2013-14 following a car accident where her C5 vertebra was fractured, damaging her spinal cord. The resultant paralysis has left Myfanwy reliant on a powered wheelchair.
Myfanwy remembers her first visit to the garden. A volunteer took her to Horatio’s Garden in her bed. She told the Daily Telegraph in an interview about the charity: “I was suddenly overwhelmed by people and the smell of delicious food. I saw it all from a slightly strange angle but it was great to reconnect with real life and feel the fresh air on my face.”
She and her husband, 2KBW criminal barrister Simon Foster, have four children and Horatio’s Garden became their second home while Myfanwy was a patient.
“It gave them all a sense of normality. I have such fond memories of it. We had a lot of picnics, a lot of happy times in there. If you’ve got children, being in a garden is less horrifying than being on a ward. When you’re outside, it’s easier to look forward in a positive way.” says Myfanwy.
2KBW have been supporting Horatio’s Garden since 2015. In June this year Daniel Wright cycled from London to Paris; 280km in three days to support the charity. Chambers band ‘Bar Mess’ took part in Law Rocks, an annual event where legal professionals-turned-rockstars compete against each other. Their prize money has all been donated to Horatio’s Garden too.
2KBW sponsored the hugely popular Chelsea Drinks Party in May, an event that ties in with the Chelsea Flower Show. William Mousley QC gave a speech to the 300 guests assembled for the annual event.
The success of Horatio’s Garden Salisbury has led to other NHS spinal centres in the UK approaching the charity. Horatio’s Garden Scotland, designed by James Alexander-Sinclair, opened in 2016 and it has transformed the patients’ hospital experience.
BBC Gardeners’ World presenter, Joe Swift, designed Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville which opened in September this year and patients are already benefitting. The first annual satisfaction survey reported that 81% of participants believe that spending time in Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville will improve their sense of wellbeing.
There are two further gardens in the pipeline – Horatio’s Garden Oswestry has been designed by Bunny Guinness and will open in 2019 at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.
The capital appeal to build Horatio’s Garden London at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital has launched. Designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, this garden is set to improve the wellbeing of patients, just as Horatio Chapple intended.
To donate to support Horatio’s Garden, visit www.horatiosgarden.org.uk/donate. To find out more about the charity, visit www.horatiogarden.org.uk