Publish date: 30 October 2023

Local businessman remembered after generous donations to Hexham General Hospital

A group of people stood around a memorial bench.

Tom Martin, of Wylam Nurseries, kindly donated an array of plants to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.

After a customer suggested buying plants for NHS staff due to the great care they had received, Tom and his wife Lois decided to donate them instead.

Tom planted flowerbeds, herbs, and strawberry plants on Hexham hospital’s grounds, creating a peaceful environment away from the wards.

Tom was a man with great integrity who offered his services to the Trust, never wanting anything in return. Sadly, he died unexpectedly last year.

Staff at the hospital then suggested that a memorial bench be placed in the hospital grounds to pay their respects, which was supported by Northumbria’s Bright charity.

Margaret Robertson, D/deaf awareness project co-ordinator, said: “Having a special seat dedicated to Tom is a fitting way to remember his kindness.

“It made lots of our staff’s day and brought a bit of happiness during a difficult time for everyone.”

A ceremony to reveal the bench brought Lois and many staff members together. This included our Chair Sir Paul Ennals, who helped Lois uncover the bench.

Avril Vallance, a volunteer who looks after the garden today, said: “I get a lot of pleasure seeing staff and patients enjoying the garden. It's a space where they can have a break from whatever is going on.

“The plants that Tom kindly donated meant we were able to have loads of colour, the raised beds look lovely. I was so glad we got to meet Lois and thank her.”

Lois has decided to continue donating plants in Tom's memory. The garden is available to view behind the Hexham NVS shop.