As part of Keltbray’s charitable work, a team from Demolition & Civil Engineering has been working to support Sir Robert McAlpine and landscape contractors Garden Link in their bid to make Horatio’s Garden a reality for patients in the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) at the Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire. Horatio’s Garden is a Wiltshire-based charity, which builds and maintains therapeutic green spaces at spinal injury units in the memory of Horatio Chapple; a 17-year old Eton schoolboy who was killed on an expedition to the Arctic Circle in 2011.

The Stoke Mandeville garden is the charity’s most ambitious project to date, and has been designed by Gardener’s World presenter Joe Swift on what was an unpromising patch of land, which is now being transformed into a therapeutic garden for patients by March 2018. It is being funded with the help of a £135k grant from The National Gardens Scheme under their Gardens and Health Initiative.

Over a four-week period, Keltbray Demolition & Civil Engineering carried our excavating and disposal works to prepare the new recreation area for the rehabilitation of patients; removing some 1500 tonnes of soil and hardstanding materials.

The aim of the project is to develop a stunning sanctuary for patients and their family and friends, which becomes an integral part of their lives and care whilst they spend many months in hospital. Often these patients and their families would otherwise have little or no access to the outside world during their hospital stay, yet research shows that at times of stress, being outside with nature contributes to a feeling of wellbeing.

As a teenager Horatio was excited about his plans to study medicine and really enjoyed volunteering at Salisbury spinal centre in his school holidays. It was his patient research there that established the need for a beautiful garden to be created.

Tragically, Horatio did not live to see the garden grow. While on an expedition to Svalbard, he was tragically killed by a polar bear. His family then went on to establish the Horatio’s Garden charity as a symbol of the hopes that Horatio had for a future of making a difference to the lives of others.

The NSIC at the Stoke Mandeville hospital is one of the oldest and largest spinal injuries centres with an inpatient capacity for 106 adult patients and 9 adolescent and paediatric beds. The centre can see up to 800 inpatients treated in one year, as well as 4,000 appointments for outpatients. It looks after patients from a wide area of the country, with the catchment area reaching from West Midlands all the way down to Kent.

22nd November 2017

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