I first learnt of The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital when I was a Physiotherapy student at The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel in the late 1950s.
I then worked at the The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, which was run on the principles of Dame Agnes with the patients being treated outside as much as possible and I learnt how valuable that was in their recovery.
Imagine my surprise when I married and discovered that my husband was on the Management Committee of the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital! Then as I was introduced to it I realised how remarkable and unique it is. Before long we were welcoming the League of Friends' bus to our home - loaded with patients and nurses from the spinal injury wards visiting us for a tour of the gardens and tea then followed by a beer and a game of bingo.
Our League of Friends was founded in 1961 and I have been on the Executive Committee for over 45 years and latterly it's vice chairman.
We constantly strive to provide the very best for our patients, staff and research.
The possibility that we can assist in honouring our Founder's principles and Horatio's inspirational views about what is good for recovering patients and create a Horatio's Garden for the Midland Spinal Units is like a dream realised, a miracle!
This is a brilliant, beautiful project for a brilliant, beautiful charity. Such a garden lifts the spirits away from what must inevitably be a functional building for the care of patients.A garden such as this one enables them to enter another world in terms of sight, touch, smell and touch.
Once again, I say, brilliant and beautiful.
I am delighted that the decision has been taken to instal a Horatio's Garden at the Orthopedic Hospital at Gobowen. It will provide a very important aid in the care of those with spinal injuries as well as greatly enhancing the surrounds of the hospital, which serves a large area on both sides of the border between England and Wales.
Charles Lillis High Sheriff of Shropshire
The Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries serves a population of about 10 million from North Wales , Mid Wales and the West Midlands. It is one of two Centres in the UK that was rebuilt from Charitable donations (£4.5 million). It was architecturally designed with full involvement of the senior team members of the Centre to ensure ease of management of patients in a pleasant environment . Although the environment within the Centre is second to none in quality, unfortunately it was difficult to raise more funds to provide an equally pleasant and serene environment around the Centre for the patient and their relatives to enjoy. This is particularly significant considering the required period of hospitalisation , the relative limitation of space within the Centre, the inability of the patients to exercise outdoors or to enjoy being with their relatives outdoors in good weather.
The dream that one day a garden around the Centre will be developed to facilitate and enhance the management of the emotional , psychological , medical and physical effects of such a sudden life changing injury has never stopped following me even after I retired from the NHS.
I am grateful to the Chapple family and the Horatio Garden Organisation for their endeavours in making that dream come true for all patients, their families and indeed for me too.
Prof W S El Masri FRCS Ed, FRCP Clinical Professor of Spinal Injuries
The Midlands Centre for Spinal Injury does extraordinary and wonderful work. it’s well known and appreciated throughout the equestrian world in particular, for the treatment it has provided to injured riders. This garden will be be a huge asset to the Centre, providing a beautiful and valuable addition to the healing process.
Rose Paterson Chairman of Aintree Racecourse