Meet Des. 

He’s recently become a volunteer in Horatio’s Garden Midlands. 

Des with Nurse Helen Des Volunteering

Here, he’s pictured with Helen Silver, a hugely respected nurse at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI) who retired in October 2020 and who was awarded a Nursing Silver Medal by Ruth May, England’s Chief Nursing Officer. 

Remarkably, she met and cared for Des when he was first injured in the 1980s. The two of them now know each other well, but we’ll leave Des to tell you the rest… 


I was originally injured in 1984 but needed to return to the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries in September 2020 due to skin issues. My stay on Gladstone Ward was much longer this time around than anyone had anticipated due to a number of complications. I was there for a total of 32 weeks and it was a difficult time for patients and staff alike due to the pandemic. 

Initially I had no idea that Horatio’s Garden existed at the hospital until a volunteer came onto the ward with some information leaflets. Fortunately, the weather was really warm when I was first admitted and the staff were happy to push patients’ beds outside to enjoy some sunshine. After 16 weeks of continuous bed rest, what I really wanted was to be able to explore the garden independently, as I had seen others do in those first few months. 

I got my chance on Christmas Eve of that year and it felt good to be up and about on my wheelchair. It was so good that I decided I’d go outside at every opportunity – no matter what the weather. 

The Garden Room was a little oasis of peace and quiet. Somewhere to sit and enjoy the garden whilst remaining warm and dry (and there’s coffee in there!) 

Horatio’s Garden came to mean a great deal to me and now, in 2022, I am delighted to be able to ‘give something back’ as a volunteer myself.

Feeling inspired? We’re always looking for volunteers, so if you’d like to find out more about joining the Horatio’s Garden team near you, please click here