Our History

Horatio’s Garden is named after Horatio Chapple, a schoolboy who wanted to be a doctor and who volunteered at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury during his school holidays. 

The charity’s story began back in 2011, when Horatio noticed during his time volunteering that there was a lack of outdoor space for patients with spinal injuries and their loved ones. This bothered him, so he decided to do something about it. 

It was Horatio’s idea to create a garden and when he suggested the idea to patients spending time in the spinal treatment centre, they were unanimously enthusiastic. His parents, Dr Olivia Chapple and David Chapple, a spinal surgeon at Salisbury District Hospital, agreed that it was a brilliant idea and encouraged him to do some research. Horatio then devised a questionnaire to ask patients exactly what they thought should be included in the space and what they would like the garden to look like. 

Tragically, Horatio’s life was cut short at 17 when his camp was attacked by a polar bear whilst on an expedition to Svalbard that summer. There followed an outpouring of love and goodwill, with donations flooding in for his garden to be created. Since then, Horatio’s legacy has continued to grow and is now helping patients, families and NHS staff throughout the UK.

The very first garden was designed by six-time Chelsea gold medal winner, Cleve West. He knew the spinal centre in Salisbury well as his best friend had been a patient there and understood that the community project would have an enormously positive impact on many people’s lives. 

Cleve used Horatio’s original research as the starting point for his designs and then consulted everyone who would in time benefit from the garden, including patients, families, nurses, therapists, doctors, managers and many more. He even went around the site in a hospital bed and wheelchair in order to gain a patient’s perspective. 

Horatio’s Garden is such an amazing, thoughtful place. It’s somewhere where you can feel good about yourself and helps you to feel free in the company of others who are in a similar situation to yourself.” 

Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury opened in September 2012. Following the enormous success of the garden, as exemplified in patient and staff feedback, the charity was subsequently established as a national entity with the aim of creating gardens in the ten outstanding UK spinal injury centres. 

Leading landscape designers continue to create each Horatio’s Garden, using both Horatio’s original research and their own to bring the gardens to life.  

Horatio’s Garden Scotland was designed by broadcaster and RHS Chair of Judges, James Alexander-Sinclair and opened in September 2016, whilst Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville opened in September 2018 and was designed by RHS gold medal winner and presenter of BBC Gardeners’ World, Joe Swift. Horatio’s Garden Midlands, Oswestry opened in September 2019, having been thoughtfully designed by acclaimed horticultural journalist, Bunny Guinness. 

In January 2020, work began on the charity’s fifth project, Horatio’s Garden London & South East, which has been designed by eight-time Chelsea gold medal winner, Tom Stuart-Smith. The garden opened in September 2020 and meanwhile, two-time Chelsea gold medal winner, Sarah Price, developed her designs for our sixth project, Horatio’s Garden Wales. Building work began in January 2021, with plans for the haven to open in the winter. Initial designs for Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland are now also being created, with eight-time Chelsea gold medal winner, Andy Sturgeon, bringing the charity’s seventh project to life.

In just ten short years, we’ve grown from a local charity to a national organisation which is now planting hope for patients and their loved ones throughout the UK. 

Our vision is to have a thriving Horatio’s Garden in all the 11 NHS spinal injury centres in the UK, and thanks to your continued generosity we are drawing ever closer to achieving that goal. 

Below are just a few of our highlights to give you a little more insight into how Horatio’s Garden has flourished since 2011. 


  • Horatio’s Garden Wales, located at the brand new Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre in University Hospital, Llandough begins to be built in January, with plans to open to patients and their loved ones in the spring of 2022.
  • The charity’s first online, national Spring Raffle raises over £24,000 thanks to a host of generous supporters and companies, whilst our first online Summer Art Auction raises over £68,000 thanks to a collection of talented, kind artists.
  • Work is completed on a new garden room in Horatio’s Garden Scotland, whilst the woodland garden is also extended to bring even more nature to people spending time in the spinal centre.
  • The charity’s seventh project, Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland, is announced, with Andy Sturgeon revealed as the project’s designer.
  • Jack Folkestone finishes the epic Marathon des Sables, coming in 32nd place out of 753 competitors, and raises over £50,000 for Horatio’s Garden.
  • Our Young Supporters hold their first fundraising event, with their Party at The Prince raising £40,000 for the charity.
  • Our Royal Patron, HRH Princess Eugenie attends our second charity Carol Concert at St Mary Abbotts Parish Church, helping Horatio’s Garden to raise over £24,000.


  • Building work begins in January on Horatio’s Garden London & South East at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, located in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore
  • Horatio’s Garden London & South East opens for the first time, marking the successful completion of the charity’s fifth project


  • The National Garden Scheme donate to Horatio’s Garden London & South East and announce their commitment to supporting 25% of the costs of each new Horatio’s Garden over the next ten years 
  • Our London Dinner, held at Wild by Tart, is attended by over 200 supporters and raises an incredible £296,000 in just one night 
  • Charity ambassador, Joanna Lumley, becomes the face of our first national fundraising event, The Fabulous Summer Tea Party 
  • Founder and Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, meets Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a reception marking the centenary of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations 
  • HRH Princess Eugenie of York becomes the charity’s Royal Patron 
  • Horatio’s Garden South West volunteers are awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of a group MBE 
  • Over 70 people throughout the country hold a Fabulous Summer Tea Party, with the event raising over £30,000 
  • Horatio’s Garden Midlands, Oswestry at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries holds its grand opening in September
  • Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury is voted the Nation’s Favourite Garden in the South West region
  • Our appeal for Horatio’s Garden Wales, the charity’s sixth project, is launched in November with designer, Sarah Price, confirmed as the designer
  • We held our first charity carol concert at St Marylebone Parish Church, which was attended by 800 guests and raised £25,000


  • Horatio’s Garden awarded four stars by the Royal Horticultural Society for their stand at the Chelsea Flower Show 
  • The third Horatio’s Garden is opened by Mary Berry in Stoke Mandeville at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in September, which supports both adults and children throughout their rehabilitation 
  • The fundraising campaign for Horatio’s Garden London & South East is launched with Tom Stuart-Smith selected as its designer, working with architect Stephen Marshall


  • In March 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May awards Founder and Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, the Points of Light Award, which recognises outstanding volunteers 
  • HRH Princess Eugenie of York visits Horatio’s Garden Scotland 
  • Luke and Harry Birch complete the Wadi Rum Ultra Marathon, a 260km journey across five days in the Jordanian desert, raising over £20,000 for Horatio’s Garden 
  • The Horatio’s Garden Midlands, Oswestry fundraising appeal is launched, and it is announced that Bunny Guinness will be the garden’s designer 
  • Our partnership with the Oxford University Internship Scheme begins, with students joining the charity each summer to conduct vital research into how valued our gardens are by patients, their loved ones, and NHS staff


  • Horatio’s Garden Scotland, serving the entire country, opens at the Scottish National Spinal Injuries Unit in September
  • The fundraising appeal for Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville is launched, with Joe Swift being announced as the garden’s designer
  • Nelsons, the UK’s largest manufacturer of natural healthcare, sponsor our stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time and continue to do so for the next three years
  • The National Garden Scheme announce that Horatio’s Garden will become one of their Gardens & Health beneficiaries


  • Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury is the venue for two weddings and a baptism this year, with patients and their families making the garden a special place of celebration 
  • Emma Bridgewater, designer of the beautifully crafted Horatio’s Garden mugs, visits our South West garden in Salisbury 
  • Cleve West, designer of Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury, wins three Society of Garden Designers Awards for his designs 
  • Our relationship with The Rank Foundation begins, who have continually supported the charity to this day
  • Gregor Fisher and Melanie Reid launch the fundraising campaign for our second project at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. It is revealed that James Alexander-Sinclair will be designing the Horatio’s Garden Scotland
  • The Telegraph choose Horatio’s Garden as one of their Christmas Appeal beneficiaries, with readers donating a total of £254,464.88 to the charity


  • The charity’s profile is raised with BBC Gardeners’ World filming in Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury 
  • The fundraising campaign for a Garden Room at Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury begins 
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall opens the Food and Plant Fair, part of the Horatio’s Garden South West Summer Weekend events 


  • Horatio’s Garden becomes established as an official charity in April
  • Wycliffe Landscapes win two BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) awards for Horatio’s Garden South West, Salisbury, with the judges commenting that they had “never been to a garden with such soul before” and described the garden as a “tranquil place that takes you away to a different level” 
  • Mel Giedroyc supports the charity for the first time by hosting a Volunteers vs. Patients Bake Off at the Horatio’s Garden South West Summer Weekend


  • The Countess of Radnor becomes Horatio’s Garden South West’s patron 
  • Our very first Horatio’s Garden at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury opens in September
  • Emma Bridgewater designs the original Horatio’s Garden mug and our shop is launched with this very special product


  • Horatio Chapple volunteers in the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury and comes up with the idea to create a garden for patients and their families 
  • Tragically, Horatio’s life is cut short when he goes on an expedition to Svalbard and his camp is attacked by a polar bear
  • An outpouring of goodwill raises over £20,000 in just two weeks to help create a garden at the spinal centre in Salisbury and Cleve West is appointed to design the garden. The final total raised was £350,000


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