December 8, 2023

Celebrating the festive season in Horatio’s Gardens

This Christmas, thousands of people will be spending the festive season in NHS spinal injury centres throughout the UK. For patients, their loved ones, and NHS staff, the festive season can be one of the most challenging times of year as people face extraordinarily difficult times adjusting to, or caring for someone with, a life-changing spinal injury.

Thanks to our incredible staff and wonderful volunteer teams, each Horatio’s Garden is a place where people can embrace the spirit of the season; a home away from home for everyone to enjoy and spend quality time together during the Christmas holiday.

Our gardens are already full of festive magic, with Christmas Fairs, seasonal decorations, heartwarming music, and yuletide crafts all taking place throughout December. So far, festive fairs have been held in every one of the charity’s gardens, offering patients, their families and friends, and NHS staff the opportunity to do some seasonal shopping. Featuring crafts and Christmas treats lovingly handmade by the charity’s fantastic volunteers, every fair was home to unique gifts, all with a special connection to each Horatio’s Garden.

Seeing so many people coming together for the charity’s Christmas events is always a pleasure, with every occasion offering people the chance to enjoy being in a warm, welcoming environment and kind, uplifting company.

Patients and volunteers have also been working together to create festive decorations for the gardens, including in Horatio’s Garden South West, where a special Horatio’s Garden inspired Christmas tree was created for the local St Thomas’ Church Christmas Tree Festival.

Everyone also appreciated and decorated the gorgeous Christmas Tree in Horatio’s Garden Wales, which has been generously donated by Pheasant Acre Plants, along with a heavenly host of cyclamen.

Elsewhere, volunteers have kindly attended various community events to help raise vital funds for the charity. In Scotland, Head Gardener Chelsea and some of the garden’s wonderful volunteers appeared amongst the stalls at The Glasgow Academy Winter Fayre, whilst in Northern Ireland Head Gardener Matthew and a few brilliant volunteers joined in with the annual Ulster Rugby Christmas Market too.

The festivities are set to continue, with lots of fantastic Christmas music, choirs, crafts, workshops, and visits planned in all the charity’s stunning sanctuaries. With festive performances expected from excellent musicians, including the Cantemus Chamber Choir in Wales and artists supported by Live Music Now in Scotland, and seasonal workshops with talented creatives, including author Horatio Clare in the Midlands, our gardens will be home to plenty of Christmas cheer.

We are also delighted to be welcoming Ed Jackson to Horatio’s Garden South West. As a former patient of the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury, Ed and his family experienced the benefits of being outside amongst nature in Horatio’s Garden throughout his many months in hospital. This Christmas, he felt it was the perfect time to return to share his inspirational story with people in the garden as part of his Christmas Tandem Cycling Challenge from Land’s End to London, raising money for Millimetres 2 Mountains; the charity Ed has established to help others redefine their own limitations through the undeniable powers of the great outdoors, adventure, and community.

We are enormously grateful to everyone who is helping to make this Christmas in Horatio’s Garden as magical as it can be for patients and their loved ones.

To everyone spending time in Horatio’s Garden this winter, we send you our warmest wishes.

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