Horatio's Garden at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

September 2018

The opening of Horatios Garden Room at Stoke Mandeville hospital this summer was cause for much celebration – it marked the end of a two-year project which has been one of the most rewarding of my career.

I met Olivia Chapell a couple of years ago – she established the Horatios Garden charity soon after her eldest son tragically died on a school trip. The aim was to realise a dream Horatio had of creating a beautiful garden space for patients who had spinal injuries and are confined to many months in hospital. The garden and garden room were built to be a respite away from the sterile hospital environment for patients, their carers and their friends and family to have tea, to read but mostly to feel close to nature.

We were so thrilled to have Mary Berry open the garden, and it was incredibly humbling to see the patients wheeled out in their beds and wheelchairs to breathe the fresh air outside, and see the magical and peaceful garden created by Jo Swift of BBC Gardens World. It has been a great privilege and hugely inspiring to work with the amazing Olivia, Jo and Andrew – let's get going with the next one!