Sir Robert McAlpine support Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville

Sir Robert McAlpine are supporting Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville with the excavation and removal of spoil from the site to make the garden completely accessible and level for patients.

The start of excavation was celebrated with a team photo when designer Joe Swift with Appeal Patron and former High Sheriff Milly Soames joined David McAlpine on site to meet the team.

Also at the event were George Plumptre from the National Gardens Scheme, who have donated £130,000 to the project. And Andrew Wells from 3W Architecture Ltd who designed the incredible garden room which will be the central hub of the garden.

Luke and Harry complete the Wadi Rum Ultra Marathon!


Please show your respect by donating HERE





Luke’s Blog Day 1

“The setup is pretty straightforward. The competitors sleep in three semi-permanent tents around an open area. We are in the biggest tent, with about 10 people in it. Unfortunately, Harry and I won the slots next to a professional snorer so even though we fell asleep quite early watching John Wick 2, (phenomenal movie) we probably only slept a few hours. We woke up at 6.45 to the sound of the local boys praying which was quite nice. As the sun came up, still half asleep, we gulped some porridge and carbohydrate drink. The ‘staff’ were having delicious looking Turkish coffee and hummus. None for the competitors!! caffeinated gels were to do the job.

The race started at 8am and the experienced runners quickly pulled away. We started at the back and got into a rhythm and moved into a middle position among the others. It was still nice and cool at this stage, spirits were high and the first 10k flew by. The scale of the Wadi is immense and the huge rocky things are stunning. If it weren’t for the sand and heat, it would be a great place to run. As we got to the first checkpoint after an hour we were laughing; ‘That again three more times. easy’ I said. What a fool! The last hour was brutal; I was cramping all over the place, and Harry’s good ankle was also giving him grief. But we got there in just over 6 hours and were very happy with that.

Jamie added a sneaky 7k onto the route, to make it 47k, you can imagine how nice it is to hear that when you think you have hit the last checkpoint!! Today was the farthest we have both run which is something we are proud of. There are some exceptional runners here who make us feel even more amateur than we are, two of them finished in about 4 hours which is unbelievable. Our legs are already very sore. We have had a quick, excruciating rub down from Physio and are currently trying to get food down and stretch
It really is a savage event. The heat is completely sapping and there are so many things to think about with to regard eating, drinking, applying lotions and figuring out which part hurts the most. I almost passed out a couple of times today feeling so lightheaded! Plenty of great moments also today. We kept each other laughing almost the whole way, chatting plenty of absolute rubbish.

We have been overwhelmed with the amount of donations you have given so far, thank you so much! Please keep ‘em coming, it really does motivate us.
Luke and Harry.”



After an amazing, albeit tiring first day Luke and I set off to bed early in another failed attempt to finish off the Oscar worthy John Wick 2. Our night was again interrupted by an orchestra of different snorers, however we woke up with our spirits high! After a great start yesterday, we felt confident we could maintain pace we had set for ourselves.

Today was 53km so we were woken at 5.45 to set off at 7. The sun had not yet risen so after fumbling about in the dark we managed together our act together and after we set offer the starting line, only to realise the rest of the group had already set off! Luke and I had ground to cover as the rest of the pack were heading off in to the distance. We started off strong as we hoped to cover as much ground as we could while the sun and temperature was low. We soon caught up with the rest of the pack. Morale was high, after using yesterday as a tester to try out our different gels and drinks, we felt better prepared to tackle the gruelling 52km we had ahead of us.

The first 30km flew by, we had time take in the stunning landscape we are running. The route was much more varied than yesterday, running through valleys in to vast open planes, we feel like we are running on mars. As the day goes by the temperature rises, fast. By 40km we were starting to feel the heat. We were prepared, drinking around 2 litres every 10km, we managed to pull through. After a savage last 5km uphill we got back to camp in just over 7 hours which we chuffed with.

Both are legs are starting to really stiffen up, however after a deep rubdown by the Physio we have a few hours to relax before tomorrow. After another change up of the route we now have 70km to look forward to tomorrow rather than 60km, Jamie does like to keep us on our toes. This does mean an early of around 3am, can’t wait!

The harshness of the environment and the effect this has on the body is really starting to show. Out of the 26 runners who started the race 4 have had to be picked up. Goes to show how tough this race really is! Your generosity really keeps us motivated and push through the pain. Thank you all so much.


Day 3

The distances were slightly changed due to park authorities saying they didn’t want us in certain places on certain days so day three ended up being the really big one: 70 km. the two days we ran 55 and 35k. Day 3 started off very well. We set off in the dark, with our head torches on and the route illuminated by glow sticks. It actually got really hot as it was so still. We were wearing clothes designed to wick sweat off to keep cool but without wind they are like wearing a jumper. 

Everyone actually found this bit pretty hard. watching the lights of the other runner’s twinkle in the distance was cool and as you would expect in the desert the stars were phenomenal, however the dark made finding firmer sand to run on trickier.  And most of the time you are staring just beyond your feet trying not to stub toes on the loose rocks, rather than taking in the Milky Way. 

we ran the first marathon in about five hours trying to get the miles out the way before it got too hot. It’s strange, when you have such a big amount ahead of you a marathon can seem like a manageable distance to run. At this point it’s quite hard to remember, as a lot of the memories have blurred into one, but we found the last section, beyond 50 k, very tough. My left ankle and knee were pretty knackered as we marched through thick sand. Harry’s legs also were naturally starting to feel more tired. We finished in 11 hours and were happy with that. 

it all started to go wrong when I went to borrow some salt from the staff chefs to add to my boil in bag meal. The boys gave me some chopped veg to put in too and I think it must have been what made me sick. I didn’t sleep at all and threw up all night, I could get any liquid or food to stay down.


Day 4

I really wanted to complete the stage so started walking in the morning, feeling wretched. I set off, exhausted and teary eyed, to see if I could walk the first 10k. I had told Harry I probably would not do it so he should go on, but found him up ahead waiting. We walked the first 20k in 5 hours and I don’t think I have ever felt more miserable, here was no song that got me going and plenty of tears! With such a huge sugar low and feeling dehydrated and delirious it’s so hard to feel positive in any way. I felt so disappointed and that I was letting people down. Jamie told me to stop and said we either need to get to the next 10k checkpoint in 1hr45 or we would have to stop. I don’t know what I would have done without Harry as it’s quite nerve racking thinking you might pass out in the heat 

About 20 minutes after seeing Jamie I threw up everything I had drunk and eaten. I said to Harry that I needed to call it a day and hit the help button on the tracker. But it didn’t go off, and when the ambulance with two Jordanian doctors came up behind us they were not aware I wanted to stop and then I somehow started to feel better. My stomach started to hold down liquids but not food. I kept on with the carbohydrate sachets and gels. At 30k they put an anti-nausea injection in my bum which also helped. 

The next 25 k was a huge effort from both of us. We basically ran and stumbled around this never-ending fence of the Dubai royal family’s Summer compound it started to annoy us more! The ground was also very hard under foot. we were both in a lot of pain, but as we had been doing for the whole week, looked after each other. Mostly Harry with me at this point!  

We crossed the finish line in the dark and went into the new camp where they were blasting awful music and some kind of hen do was going on. 

I got into my sleeping bag and didn’t really move, feeling awful and wired and sick. Harry and Jamie bought me some small bits of food but I could not stomach much. It’s quite weird going to bed with a pulse rate around 90 but the lovely Danish doctor Thor assured me this was part of the recovery. 


Completely on empty, we set off for the last day which was just under a marathon at 35k Which for me wasn’t as horrid as Thursday but it was the most physically painful and exhausting by a long way. It’s pretty hard to describe the exhaustion and quite hard to remember what it feels like once you have come out of it. A week of being in that environment felt like months. 

I was still feeling so low not having really eaten much but a few peaches in brandy and some crackers for breakfast.  Usually we would have a lot of porridge 

By the end of the day our legs feet and toes were completely ruined. At a couple of the checkpoints Kieran, the Physio, dug into my leg to try and get the stiffness out, which was almost not worth t! I squealed like a pig. 

The last 2k felt harder than the first 50 at the beginning. It was so still, must have been above 35 degrees, cramps were setting in all round as we ran past some dried carcasses and worn out cars across the barren valley plain strewn with litter on the home stretch. It’s just the biggest relief to finish.

On Thursday morning I thought it was going to be over for me. knowing that people had donated to support us kept me going. The charity and the Chapple family mean so much to me and I really wanted to do it for them and everyone else supporting the charity. 

It’s a great feeling doing something as a team. I could not have finished the race without Harry, who has been a complete beast. Even when we have both been upset and in pain we have picked each other up with bad jokes. 

A huge hats off to everyone who took part in this, some amazing, very stubborn athletes.  Also the organisers and volunteers who helped us get through 

I have typed this up on my phone on the bus out of the desert so apologises for typos, Harry is going to try and write something longer tomorrow. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so kindly 



On Friday Luke and I finished what has been for me, physically, the toughest week of my life. Crossing the finish line after crossing 260km of the Wadi Rum was a feeling I shall never forget. In the months prior to arriving in the desert I had done all I could to prepare for the race but I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for the physical and mental test this week would entail.

If the 260km in the desert heat was not challenge enough I awoke on Thursday morning to find Luke had been violently ill all night, with no signs of letting up. Luke had not slept and was completely drained. As the runners gathered their things and prepared for the 55km day ahead of them, Luke was faced with a choice, to continue or miss this stage to recover for the last. As anyone who knows Luke could guess, he chose to battle through the pain. Watching Luke on Thursday was inspiring, if not terrifying. After repeatedly throwing up along the course in the burning heat, having not slept, most sane people would have called in the medics. Luke commitment to finishing the race was truly astounding. we tackled the race stage by stage after perseverance and determination we both finished the day long after sundown. 

We woke up on Friday morning, after what felt like months in the desert, with a comparatively small 35km. This was however, the most challenging day for me. Having given it my all the previous 4 days, I was on my last legs, literally.  Luke was still unwell. We somehow managed to stumble through the last day through a cocktail of energy gels and bad jokes!

We are both, as you can imagine, completely exhausted. Running through the beautiful Wadi Rum was an amazing experience and there is nobody I know with whom I would rather have run this with. Never was I in any doubt that we could complete this challenge with Luke beside me. I am certain I would not have been able to do it without him.

This undertaking would never have been possible without the dedicated team of doctors, physios, photographers and videographers, without whom me and Luke both would not have been able to see this through. So, we would like to thank everyone who supported us throughout the last week and thank Horatio’s garden for their inspirational work and the extremely generous donations.


West Country Exhibition

Thank you to all that came out to Cornwall to see the stunning exhibition of paintings


A special thanks to Camilla and all involved in arranging the event. 

Princess Eugenie visits Horatio’s Garden Scotland

Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie visited Horatio’s Garden Scotland on Monday 24th July and met patients, volunteers and the staff at the Scottish National Spinal Unit, which treats all Scottish-based patients with spinal cord injuries and is based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. This visit highlighted the extraordinary work carried out by the charity in just five years and raised awareness of the important role of healing gardens in the wellbeing of spinal cord injury patients. 

Princess Eugenie’s interest in Horatio’s Garden, and in this garden in particular, was prompted following a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year where Her Royal Highness met garden designer James Alexander-Sinclair who designed the Scottish garden. Mr Alexander-Sinclair, BBC presenter and leading garden designer, proclaimed Horatio’s Garden Scotland to be “the most important garden I have ever designed”.

During her visit, Princess Eugenie enjoyed a tour of every aspect of this special garden, observed garden therapy in action as patients used the landscape to learn wheelchair skills, and helped patients to plant a grapevine in recognition of her visit. Her Royal Highness also took the time to chat to patients and former patients over tea, including the award-winning Times journalist Melanie Reid.

Horatio’s Garden’s Chair of Trustees, Olivia Chapple, said; “We are so delighted that Princess Eugenie has seen the extraordinary benefits that a beautiful garden can bring to patients facing long stays in hospital. Her Royal Highness’s visit has brought joy to patients and volunteers.”


RHS The Garden magazine

Horatio’s Garden Salisbury features in the July 2017 RHS The Garden Magazine.

A place to heal – the inspiring story of Horatio’s Garden‘. In a beautiful article written by Lia Leendertz with stunning photography by Clive Nichols the essence and philosophy of the garden is captured.



Brewin Dolphin sell plants from Chatsworth for Horatio’s Garden

The Brewin Dolphin garden by Jo Thompson at RHS Chatsworth Show has sold off all the plants in support of Horatio’s Garden and raised over £2,000.

Jo Thompson’s beautiful FreeForm garden won the “People’s Choice” at the show.

Brewin Dolphin have donated plants and sculptures from their 2012 and 2016 Chelsea Flower Show gardens to Horatio’s Garden Salisbury and Scotland. 

Jo’s garden featured delicate planting creating the feeling of an ornamental meadow set against the vibrant green of the landscape. The planting was loose and energetic to reflect the setting and the colour palette was created from soft, delicate shades of pink and lavender. Garden areas were lined with rosa canina, peonies, irises and dahlias. Four huge old maples and two hornbeams created a glade of trees, sitting with the surrounding parkland and swathes of wild flower meadow surrounded the garden.

Sallie Sillars wins Scotland’s Gardener of the Year

This award has been set up to identify and celebrate the gardening talent up and down the country and amidst keen competition Sallie has reached the shortlist. 

We are delighted that Sallie’s skills, expertise and hard work as head gardener of Horatio’s Garden Scotland, have been recognised in this way. 

Head Gardener and garden therapist Sallie helped with the initial planting, working closely with the landscape contractor and took responsibility for recruiting and training a fantastic team of volunteers who now help care for the planting and organising events and activities for patients under Sallie’s management.

The challenges of Sallie’s role cannot be underestimated – a brand new high maintenance, high profile garden, a team of new volunteers, working with a clinical team in a highly stressful hospital environment and delivering an incredible garden project for patients with life changing spinal cord injuries.

Sallie is brilliant at the role and is the shining light of the project. She is managing the garden outstandingly – everything is immaculate and every part of this acre garden is carefully nurtured.

Patients testify to Sallies fabulous welcoming smile and warmth – her garden therapy sessions are always filled with laughter and patients leave with a sense of pride and purpose. If ever there was a champion of the benefits of gardening Sallie is it.

James Alexander-Sinclair said “Sallie is gold dust – her enthusiasm, cheerfulness, knowledge and ability to lead the team of volunteer gardeners is a joy to see”.








Chelsea party launches Midland Spinal Centre garden

280 guests joined us for an evening of celebration and entertainment at the beautifully refurbished National Army Museum for cocktails and canapés. Trees donated by Hortus Loci for the occasion created a garden in the venue. Horatio’s Garden designers, celebrities and patrons enjoyed a fabulous party. Bunny Guinness revealed her plans for Horatio’s Garden Oswestry at the Midland Spinal Centre. Victoria Theakston a former patient of the Spinal Centre in Salisbury talked movingly about the impact Horatio’s Garden had on her. 

The evening was very generously sponsored by the

Chambers of William Mousley QC, 2 King’s Bench Walk

2 King’s Bench Walk are Advocates Achieving Excellence, who are delighted to support and be involved with Horatio’s Garden. 

Cawston Press generously donated soft drinks and Berry Brothers and Rudd supplied delicious Cremant de Limoux. 

Thanks to Charlie Woodford for providing the musical entertainment.


Nelsons sponsor Chelsea flower Show

Horatio’s Garden had a very successful Chelsea Flower Show. The stand was visited by many guests including Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. Baroness Masham, Joanna Lumley, Anneka Rice and Alan Titchmarsh were all impressed with the beauty of the stand as well as the many supporters who visited during the week. The most popular merchandise item was the new garden trays designed by Arran Stamper who also visited the stand.

The stand was very generously sponsored by Nelsons, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of natural healthcare products, for the second year running after last year’s award winning presence successfully helped raise awareness and funds for our nature-inspired charity work.

Nelsons are happy to support as they also believe in the power of nature for good health and emotional well-being as part of an integrated approach to healthcare. Nelsons Chairman Robert Wilson said: “We are delighted to support Horatio’s Garden again, their projects can make a real difference in a patients’ recovery and their use of nature is inspiring.”

The stunning planting donated by Hortus Loci was designed by Cleve West (with a little help from James Alexander-Sinclair!) and was his smallest ever garden at Chelsea! Bunny Guinness, Joe Swift and James Alexander-Sinclair were on hand selling the charity’s bespoke merchandise.

Dr Olivia Chapple, Chair of Trustees at Horatio’s Garden says “the show gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk to so many visitors and to launch the next Horatio’s Garden at the Midland Spinal Injury Centre in Oswestry. I am so grateful to our generous sponsor Nelsons, for their continued involvement.”


Artist Miranda Creswell completes her first marathon

Artist in Residence and archaeology artist for Oxford University, Miranda Creswell, ran the Milton Keynes Marathon for Horatio’s Garden on 1 May 2017 completing her first marathon in 4:45hours. 

Miranda said “An epic run but still smiling and motivated by Horatio’s Garden donations for Stoke Mandeville” .

Miranda has been an artist in residence in Horatio’s Garden Salisbury, working with patients to create landscape sketches and is now working on bringing the Looking Out Project, to Horatio’s Garden Scotland. To see more of her work click here.

Please do show your support for Miranda here! 



Sign up for the Horatio's Garden newsletter

Contact Us

Shopping cart
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping