TV Presenter Danny Clarke ‘Over The Moon’ with the progress of our Commemorative Garden

The renowned garden designer visited Gloucestershire Royal Hospital to meet with some of the hospital team ahead of the official opening.

The space is being created to remember the lives lost due to COVID-19 and to thank our dedicated NHS teams for everything they have done and continue to do during the pandemic.

“When you design gardens, you have an idea of how it will look in your head but each one turns out a little bit different to that and this is even better than my wildest imagination. The work has far exceeded my expectations and I am over the moon with how it is looking. It really is one of the best projects I have worked on.” he said.

The garden was designed as a woodland glade in mind to provide a restful place where hospital staff and patients can go to relax. Trees such as cherry, silver birch and hornbeam will be used alongside shade loving plants such as rhododendrons, viburnums and ferns. Crocuses, alliums and other bulbs will provide a spot of colour and texture to the space in spring. It also includes a sunken seating area finished off in beautiful Gloucester Green sandstone.

“It is looking great and we are now just a week or so away from being able to start the planting,” Danny said. “It was fantastic to come down and see how it was coming along and it was a real honour to meet some of the people from the hospital who will be able to use this garden. It has been an incredible project to be involved in.”

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Money is being raised for the garden through the Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity’s Commemorative Dandelion Appeal. For a suggested donation of £25, you can fund a beautiful wire commemorative dandelion which can be dedicated with a personal message. You may wish to donate one in memory of someone, or for the care you or a loved one received. Alternatively, you may simply want to say thank you for everything the NHS has done during COVID-19.

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Senior Fundraiser Karen Organ said she was delighted with the money which has been raised so far for the appeal.

“We wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated to the appeal. Donations have come in not just from members of the public, but also from a lot of NHS staff themselves who have wanted to pay tribute to the incredible dedication of their teams over the past year. We have also received fantastic support from local businesses and the community who have offered financial assistance as well as gifts in kind."

“The garden will be officially opened in just a few weeks’ time but after that, people can still continue to support the appeal by donating a dandelion. Once the sculptures have been displayed in our hospitals as part of the commemorative week in April, people can choose to donate it to the hospitals, or they can collect their dandelion so they can enjoy it in their home or garden.”

Our Commemorative Gardens are now officially open for staff, patients and visitors to enjoy. We are still raising funds to transform and create even more outdoor spaces at our hospitals. If you would like to support our Green Spaces Appeal you can make a donation here.

Photographs of Danny Clarke by Anna Lythgoe.

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