HRH Princess Eugenie of York celebrated the start of the festive season in style by helping Horatio’s Garden to raise over £24,000 at our second annual Christmas Carol Concert.

The phenomenal total will mean the charity can continue supporting the physical and mental health of patients, their loved ones and NHS staff as they adjust to, or care for someone with, a life-changing spinal cord injury. Our beautiful, fully accessible gardens are all nestled in the heart of NHS spinal injury centres and are a lifeline for people spending Christmas, and the many months beyond, in hospital.

This year’s spectacular seasonal occasion was held at the gorgeous St Mary Abbots Parish Church in Kensington, London. The service was officiated by Patron of Horatio’s Garden Wales, The Right Reverend June Osborne, Bishop of Llandaff and was attended by a heavenly host of the charity’s celebrity supporters, many of whom read during the service.

As Patron of Horatio’s Garden, Princess Eugenie was delighted to be supporting the occasion, reading Love Came Down at Christmas by Christina G Rossetti.

She shared, “As a former spinal patient myself, I understand how the chance to get outside is so beneficial not only for recovery, but for staying positive at a life-changing, often traumatic time.”

Reading alongside Princess Eugenie was another of the charity’s Patrons, The Countess of Radnor, who has supported Horatio’s Garden since the charity first planted hope in Salisbury with Horatio’s Garden South West.

“It is such a huge privilege to be Patron of such an inspiring charity,” the Countess shared, adding “long may the gardens grow and all that they have to offer.”

She was joined by Horatio’s Garden Ambassador and celebrity garden broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh MBE, who read an extract from Sue Stuart-Smith’s The Well Gardened Mind, whilst fellow Horatio’s Garden Ambassador and TV and radio star Anneka Rice delivered the charity’s Christmas Appeal message.

Whilst the occasion was undoubtedly full of festive magic, it was Horatio’s Garden Ambassador and specialist spinal injury solicitor, Raquel Siganporia, who was responsible for one of the evening’s most moving moments.

As a former patient of the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, home to the fifth Horatio’s Garden, Raquel performed Coombe Hill. The unique poem was penned by Katie, a young woman and former patient of the National Spinal Cord Injury Centre, where the charity’s third sanctuary, Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville, helped Katie and her family following her injury.

Speaking from first-hand experience after the service Raquel shared, “When someone sustains a spinal cord injury, the freedoms and pleasures they enjoyed without thinking vanish as they try to come to terms with their trauma. Rehabilitating in a hospital that has a positive, vibrant and nurturing Horatio’s Garden is priceless.”

As well as thoughtful readings, guests were treated to some sensational seasonal performances. Soprano Charlotte Crawley, who previously raised over £100,000 for Horatio’s Garden, dazzled with her performance of Once in Royal David’s City, whilst bass-baritone and opera singer Edward Jowle performed a stunning rendition of The Three Kings. Both were accompanied by the wonderful St Mary Abbots Parish Church choir, as was trumpeter Will Lyons, who brought the service to an uplifting close with his solo during O Come All Ye Faithful.

Guests, including Philip Baldwin, John Galea, Joe Swift, Andy Sturgeon and James Alexander-Sinclair, unanimously shared how much they had enjoyed their evening and were thrilled to have been part of the festive occasion. Thanks to the kindness of each and every supporter, the dedication of the staff at St Mary Abbots Parish Church and the event’s generous sponsors, Stifel, Bolt Burdon Kemp, Casterbridge Wealth Investments and Ramsay Healthcare UK, the Carol Concert will most certainly help Horatio’s Garden to continue making a difference to thousands of people’s lives both this winter and in the years yet to come.

To donate to Horatio’s Garden this Christmas, please click here or ring 01722 326834

To watch the complete film of this year’s Carol Concert, please click here