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Trust on look-out for volunteers for Northumbria hospital garden

Friday, 26 August, 2016
Trust on look-out for volunteers for Northumbria hospital garden

Green-fingered volunteers are being sought to help award-winning designer Sean Murray create a garden at The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Cramlington Rotary Club and Sean, winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge in 2015, are inviting two local gardeners to join him as he brings the garden to life.

This unique opportunity will enable one experienced local horticulturist with a lifetime of gardening experience to assist with planting and a final year horticultural student to join the team.

Work is scheduled to start on the garden on Monday 12 September with planting to follow in October. The volunteers will be expected to help for a couple of days during the planting, weather dependent.

Sean has always wanted to give something back to the NHS after his career as a nurse gave him the foundations to go forward with confidence into his new venture as a garden designer. He understands the importance of nature and nurturing to aid recovery among patients who often feel isolated in a clinical environment when they are recovering from illness.

Northumbria Healthcare’s specialist emergency care hospital at Cramlington provided the ideal opportunity for Sean to express his talents and design a garden that would give pleasure and lift the spirits, not only for patients, but staff and visitors to the busy hospital.

Sean said: “I feel passionately about the healing power of nature. As a designer, I know the effect that colour, fragrance and form can have on people – lifting spirits and encouraging optimism.

“This garden is special to me, as a nurse and as a gardener, it combines all of my experience and it’s such a privilege to be able to create something special for the hospital that I know will bring hours of pleasure to everyone.

“There is a wealth of horticultural talent in the area and these two opportunities offer local people a unique chance to play a part in this fantastic garden.”

If you would like to get involved, send a short explanation of your horticultural experience and why you would like to be part of it, to Brenda Longstaff at by 5pm on Friday 9 September 2016. For more information about the opportunities, contact 0191 203 1351.

The garden has received funding from Northumbria Healthcare’s Bright Charity and fundraising support from Cramlington Rotary Club and together they have worked on the project for over the past year.

Ian McMinn, non-executive director and chairman of the trust’s charitable funds committee, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sean back to his roots and are thrilled to have an opportunity to benefit from his award-winning talents and involve the community in this special project.

“His garden design is sensational:  a vibrant, colourful masterpiece of contemporary style. We can’t wait to see it take shape and everyone is really excited.”

Robert Nixon, of Cramlington Rotary Club, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Northumbria Healthcare’s Bright Charity locally to support this excellent scheme and think it is an excellent idea to involve local gardeners.

“There are many green-fingered people in this area with great experience and we would urge people with horticultural experience to get involved.

“We look forward to seeing the start of work on the garden and watching it grow.”