This bank holiday weekend we’ve joined the rest of the UK in celebrating VE Day and the NHS. Each Horatio’s Garden honoured the service and sacrifice of a generation in their own unique way, whilst simultaneously thanking all those who are currently working on the frontline.
In Horatio’s Garden Scotland, former volunteer Archie Campbell returned with his bagpipes in hand to put his own spin on Clap for Carers and mark the beginning of the VE Day weekend. As Archie is currently back from university, he got in touch with Head Gardener Sallie to see how he could help. Being a keen piper, he mentioned that he would love to play his bagpipes for patients and staff of the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit and naturally, no one could resist!
The event coincided nicely with an Italian takeaway evening, kindly organised for patients by Senior Charge Nurse, Helena, and it was obvious from the minute Archie began performing that an evening of ‘Pizza and Pipes’ was just what everyone needed. He continued to play whilst ambling the length of Horatio’s Garden, which was his thoughtful way of ensuring that everyone could see and hear his music from the spinal centre. Afterwards, Archie remained in the garden at 8pm to join in with ‘Clap for Carers’, and the sound of everyone’s applause echoed throughout the garden.
To watch Archie’s full performance, simply click on the video below, which has been brilliantly put together by WRAGs trainee, Chelsea Lowe.
Meanwhile, far south in Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville, patients and NHS staff we’re also enjoying a musical performance. Head Gardener Jacqui, volunteer Fi and her husband Ed all visited the garden on Thursday evening to join in with Clap for Carers and mark VE Day with patients and staff from afar.
It was a beautiful evening, warm enough for the ward doors to be open and for everyone to be able to hear Ed’s trumpet performance. He played various pieces of music from different locations in Horatio’s Garden, taking care to make sure that everyone could hear the uplifting tunes. As he played, Jacqui, Fi and everyone within the National Spinal Injuries Centre clapped along in honour of the occasion.
It was a rather moving evening, made all the more poignant by the knowledge that hundreds of miles away in Scotland patients and staff were enjoying an almost identical event.
Horatio’s Garden Oswestry followed a musical theme during their VE Day celebrations too, as the clinical team gathered with patients in the garden for a party.
There was of course plenty of bunting, lots of Union Jack paraphernalia courtesy of the hospital’s League of Friends, and an abundance of tea and cake for everyone to enjoy throughout the gloriously sunny afternoon.
Many patients enjoyed creating poppies, which were then displayed in the flower beds, and the day took a competitive turn with a fun VE Day quiz. Staff wholeheartedly embraced the event, dressing up ‘dig for victory’ style, whilst Horatio’s Garden volunteers joined via Zoom to chorus We’ll Meet Again with everyone in the garden.
As Ward Manager Rebecca Warren put it, the day was “full of laughter and fun”, with staff, volunteers and patients coming together to thoughtfully mark the 75th anniversary and successfully raise everyone’s spirits.
We’re so grateful to Archie and Ed for generously lending their musical talents to Horatio’s Garden, as well as to all our volunteers for their continuous support of the charity. Even from afar, you’re bringing joy to lots of people and in these challenging times, we could all do with a little of that.