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Official opening for Northumbria hospital garden

Friday, 16 December, 2016
Official opening for Northumbria hospital garden

A new garden which has been built at The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington has been officially opened.

The garden – named ‘The Retreat’ – provides a peaceful space for patients, visitors and staff away from the clinical environment.

Marian Foster, BBC Radio Newcastle gardening presenter, and Ian McMinn, non-executive director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, have cut the ribbon to officially open the garden.

Northumbria Healthcare has worked with award-winning garden designer Sean Murray and Cramlington Rotary Club on the garden, creating an area to enable people to take time out from the hospital environment.

The garden has been planted with trees, shrubs, and perennials to provide year-round interest from bark, stems, flowers and leaves. Scented climbing plants create a secluded oak seating area set amongst natural paving.

‘The Retreat’, chosen following suggestions from staff, has received funding from the trust’s Bright charity and fundraising support from Cramlington Rotary Club and together they have worked on the project over the past year.

The development gave former nurse Sean, winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge in 2015, an ideal opportunity to give something back to the NHS following his career as a nurse.

Marian, presenter of BBC Newcastle’s ‘Garden Mania’, said: “I had heard so much about the garden and Sean Murray’s design, I was delighted to be invited to The Northumbria hospital to officially open ‘The Retreat’.

“Gardens are extremely powerful places – they give both pleasure and a sense of peace, a breath of fresh air and a space for quiet reflection, so important for patients, families and staff.

“It is now proven that even the view of a garden through a hospital window can benefit patients, lift their spirits and help their healing.

“From speaking to people here I’ve got a real sense of what this garden means and the enthusiasm it has already generated among the staff and the volunteers.

“I’m keen to return in the spring to see it in full bloom and I commend Northumbria Healthcare for the development of gardens at its sites.”

Ian, chairman of the trust’s charitable funds committee who is stepping down from his role as a non-executive director at the end of the year, said: “It gives me great pleasure to open this garden alongside Marian which has been a major project for our Bright charity this year.

“Since the new Northumbria hospital opened in June 2015, we have wanted to create a space for people to take time out of the hospital environment and I’m delighted that this is now complete.

“We have all watched the garden develop with great excitement and all the team are looking forward to seeing it take shape as the weather improves.” 

Sean said: “After many months designing, planning and planting the garden I am over the moon that it is now been officially opened.

“It has given me great pleasure to work with the trust, community groups and volunteers to create a garden here in Northumberland of which I am immensely proud.

“This garden combines a vibrant planting scheme with the timeless quality of natural slate and weathered oak to provide a tranquil haven for patients, relatives and staff, a space to take refuge, to reconnect, or just be.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in the project from its inception – it has truly been a real team effort and I hope that people who use it will get as much pleasure from it as I have designing and building it.”

The trust gave two local gardeners the opportunity to help Sean bring the garden to life with an experienced local horticulturist and a final year horticultural student joining the team.

Robert Nixon, from Cramlington Rotary Club, said: “We have been delighted to work with the trust to help create this garden in our community and complement the care given to patients in the hospital.

“It’s fantastic to see the finished product which will benefit many people in the years to come.”

The trust’s Bright charity provides the extras that make a difference to patients. For more information, contact 0191 203 1354 or or visit