Despite the storm clouds gathering, spirits couldn’t be dampened on Friday evening as patients and supporters alike gathered in the garden for our eighth Salisbury Summer Drinks Party.
Guests were treated to several glasses of prosecco, as well as some delicious canapes which were freshly homemade and served that evening by our fantastic, award-winning Salisbury volunteer team. Throughout the evening guests caught up with old friends in the garden whilst admiring the planting, which was looking lusher than ever thanks to a drop of rain. It was particularly lovely to be able to welcome Salisbury garden designer Cleve West back on a day when the garden looked so beautiful, with many complimenting the thoughtfulness of his design. Toria Britten added to the naturalistic aesthetic of the occasion too by once again turning her hand to some gorgeous flower arrangements.
In between soaking up the atmosphere of the evening, many attendees took the time to appreciate our very first Salisbury-based art sale too, which offered numerous one-of-a-kind works by various charity supporters. Everyone was certainly spoilt for choice and it proved quite a challenge to choose just a select few to take home with them! Similarly, the plant sale proved popular as well, with many braving the elements to purchase one or more of the volunteer-grown plants on offer.
Guests were also incredibly generous throughout the evening, whether they were taking part in our exciting summer raffle, signing-up to Become a Friend of the charity, buying exclusive Horatio’s Garden merchandise or by simply popping some money in one of our collection boxes. We so appreciate all your dedicated support, which for eight years has helped us to improve the lives of people affected by spinal injuries and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Now that the Horatio’s Garden Summer Weekend in Salisbury has become something of a fixture in local calendars, it was wonderful to welcome back some familiar faces to the garden. This included our brilliant sponsors, Bolt Burdon Kemp, who were more than happy to chat to anyone looking to find out more about their work with those with spinal injuries. Raquel Siganporia, Partner and head of the Spinal Injuries Team at the firm, was particularly engaging when sharing her own experiences of spinal injury and how passionately she feels about supporting Horatio’s Garden as a result. Raquel previously spent time in the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre at Stanmore, and thus recognises how immensely valuable having access to a garden is for those spending many months in hospital.
Similarly, we also loved hearing from former patient Jack Mannings at the event, who kindly offered to do a short interview with Olivia Chapple to offer attendees further insight into how important Horatio’s Garden was, and is, to him. Jack emphasised how significant the space was when friends came to see him in hospital, telling everyone that having an open, informal environment to enjoy with his visitors made such a difference whilst he was spending time in hospital. It was also great to learn more about Jack’s life since leaving hospital, during which time he has applied for a Masters in Military History in London and is in the process of joining a wheelchair rugby team. We are so grateful to Jack for agreeing to share his experiences with all of us, and for being a firm friend of Horatio’s Garden.
Thank you too to the VMT band who were responsible for the excellent live music, which subtly set the tone for the evening. They certainly contributed to the incredible atmosphere permeating the garden throughout the evening, which as you’ll see below was perfectly captured by photographer and long-time friend of the charity, Joshua Humphrey.
Every year our Salisbury Summer Weekend continues to become increasingly successful, which is a is testament to your tremendous kindness. With the help and generosity of dedicated people like you, we will soon be able to open a Horatio’s Garden at each of the eleven spinal injury centres and help a great many more patients and families in the UK.