There have been a whole host of festivities taking place in each Horatio’s Garden across the UK, bringing a touch of Christmas magic to patients, families, friends, NHS staff and our wonderful supporters.
In Salisbury, an overwhelming number of people came along to the garden’s annual Christmas Fair, with many commenting they’d found more than a few ideal gifts for their loved ones! Alongside bespoke Horatio’s Garden merchandise were handmade crafts, lovingly made by volunteers, seasonal plants as well as five fabulous stallholders. The Wiltshire Liqueur Company, Black Mountains Smokery, James’s Cheese, Alexander Chocolate and Mr Tacks were all on hand with an array of foodie products which were naturally popular with everyone passing through the doors.
It was truly lovely seeing so many patients, families and friends in the garden and festively decorated garden room, with everyone particularly enjoying the delicious soup and cakes which were homemade by volunteers. There was certainly a chill in the air, but thankfully the rain held off and endless cups of tea, along with a touch of festive cheer, suitably warmed the hearts of everyone who joined us.
Meanwhile, patients have also been busy creating the Horatio’s Garden inspired tree that is part of this year’s Christmas Tree Festival at St Thomas’s Church in Salisbury, and crafted the lanterns that were used in this year’s lantern parade. With carols and festive tunes from ukulele band The Salisbury Pluckers, the annual parade was enjoyed by patients, families and NHS staff alike.
In the north, Horatio’s Garden Scotland have been busy preparing their own seasonal celebrations too.
This year, patients braved the cold to help volunteers decorate the Christmas tree in record time and the result is truly a sight to behold! It was a wonderful way to while away a chilly December afternoon and will be sure to delight patients and their loved ones whenever they visit the garden this winter.
The tree was also perfectly positioned for the garden’s Christmas party, which welcomed patients and families from across Scotland for festive treats, cosy cups of tea and entertainment from the Glasgow City Voice Choir, who were on-hand to set a perfectly festive tone with seasonal songs and carols.
As if that wasn’t enough, volunteers also generously organised a wreath-making workshop for members of the public to come and enjoy creating uniquely beautiful, environmentally-friendly wreaths in Horatio’s Garden. All the greenery was collected and donated by volunteers, or was carefully selected from the garden itself so everyone could take a little piece of the charity home with them this winter.
Back in the south, wreath-making has been equally popular with patients and families in Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville. Budding young gardener Alfie particularly enjoyed the activity, creating this stunning wreath which he was rightly incredibly proud of!
In addition, bespoke wreaths were made by volunteers for the Stoke Mandeville Christmas Market and were a huge success at the event. Visitors flocked to the wreath stall and were particularly pleased when they were given the opportunity to customise their purchase with all kinds of festive additions (cinnamon was the top choice)!
Thankfully the weather was kind to the event, which meant some of the 13 stallholders could settle in outside in the gorgeous garden. Despite the cold, it was a bright day and having the local artisans scattered throughout Horatio’s Garden gave the whole event a truly terrific atmosphere. Many patients, families, friends, staff and visitors commented on how they’d loved spending time at the market and really appreciated the efforts of volunteer team and stallholders.
Finally, despite the garden only being a few months old, everyone did a fantastic job of organising the first Horatio’s Garden Oswestry Christmas Fair. There was a brilliant amount of local interest and support, with stallholders including Beautifully Crafted for You, Purple Pixie, Creative Folds and 3MRSG. The Angelic Upstarts also lent us their voices for the afternoon, with the sweet sounds of carols echoing throughout the garden. The event even caught a little press attention, with the Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer featuring a story on the garden and its Christmas event!
Each week patients have also been busy creating seasonally-themed crafts in Oswestry too. The Christmas card workshop was especially well-attended, with everyone preparing both cards for loved ones and for the Christmas fair. Now that there are lights twinkling across the garden too, the garden is suitably adorned for the festive season.