Award-Winning Chelsea Garden relocated
A garden that attracted a lot of attention at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – ‘Hope on the Horizon’ designed by Matthew Keightley (Silver-Gilt) – has now been relocated at a Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, writes Sandy Felton.
The garden, which will help veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses, is designed to inspire, enable and support during their recovery and beyond.
‘Hope on the Horizon’ captured the hearts of the voting public in May 2014 when it was awarded the People’s Choice at RHS Chelsea and it was certainly one of my favourite gardens at this year’s show.
Matt, of Maidenhead-based landscaping firm Farr and Roberts, and his team, have been working non-stop to landscape the outdoor space at Chevasse VC House recovery centre in Essex – the new home for the show garden.
The garden represents the complex and progressive path of recovery experienced by our wounded, injured and sick service personnel and their families.
With the support of the local community generously raising £100,000 towards the project, Matt and his team have transformed what was a bare shrub land into a tranquil, peaceful haven that will now offer veterans and their loved ones privacy and a place for reflection.
For Mark Taylor, a former warrant Officer who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the garden is a welcome addition to Chavasse VC House, the Centre he describes as a compassionate family. Mark accepted the garden on behalf of all the injured servicemen and women who will use the garden in the years to come, in front of a crowd of heroes and guests.
Mark said: “When you have PTSD, there are times when you need to walk off, go to a place where there is solitude, a place to be on your own, where you can cry if you need to. The garden provides this. It will be a place for reflection, it is calm and quiet.”
Matt is immensely proud of the garden: “It’s been two years of hard work to get it to this point, and an incredible experience”, he said. “It has been an honour and a privilege to work with Help for Heroes and the entire team on this project, Today I am extremely proud to be able to now hand it over to our heroes. I hope it can be enjoyed for the purpose it was intended; to provide a quiet haven, and place for contemplation and recovery.”
The co-founder of Help for Heroes, Brian Parry OBE, explained that the charity was all about ‘doing your bit’ and the phenomenal support of both the public and businesses of Essex had been crucial to allowing the creation of the garden: “It offers both serving and Veteran members of the Armed Forces who suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses with a tranquil space for reflection; both of what happened and the future,” commented Brian.
The Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House, is a 29 bedroomed purpose-built house providing direct practical support for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. Within the centre the Support Hub offers guidance on a range of needs such as housing and financial. It also connects individuals to other partner charities.
The health and well-being of each hero is taken care of at the Centre too, as it embraces a holistic approach to the recovery process. Sports recovery sessions such as wheelchair rugby, gym inductions and individual workouts in the adapted gymnasium plus complementary therapies ensure that each person who stays receives the best support as they prepare to make the transition to civvy street or adjust to life post injury as a Veteran.
The garden means that the recovery programme can now extend outside the building, getting the ‘blokes’ (the men and women of the Armed Forces) into the fresh air and taking part in new programmes such as horticultural workshops.
You can help to keep the garden growing and support our wounded by becoming a Friend of Help for Heroes. Visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donate to find out more.