This year Horatio’s Garden was once again at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show which was held between Tuesday 21st May and Saturday 25th May.
The charity’s stand was designed by James Alexander-Sinclair and was again generously sponsored by Nelsons, who are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of natural healthcare products and popped in for a visit too.
The event was the perfect venue to launch our new Horatio’s Garden products. These include a solid oak keyring bearing the charity’s logo, a handkerchief created by Marmaduke London and gorgeous leather tote bags created by the world-renowned designer, Bill Amberg. We also ensured there was an abundance of our new and exclusive Emma Bridgewater mug, which was a big hit with visitors.
Throughout the week the stand has been looked after by a team of volunteers and staff, all of whom have had a fantastic time chatting with supporters old and new. Everyone relished the chance to soak up some of that wonderfully unique Chelsea atmosphere and it was also lovely to see so much enthusiasm for the charity from a great many visitors – including some familiar faces!
We were delighted to receive a royal visit from Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice, whose sister Princess Eugenie became the charity’s Royal Patron earlier this month. Trustees Olivia Chapple and Victoria Holton spoke with the Princess, who was incredibly supportive and interested in the charity’s work and achievements.
It was lovely to welcome committed supporters Anneka Rice and Joanna Lumley too, who both popped in to say ‘hello’ and catch up with everything the charity’s been doing over the past few months. Both have been particularly involved in the launch of our very first national fundraising event, the Fabulous Summer Tea Party, which is being held between the 3rd and 9th of June. Joanna brilliantly agreed to be the face of the event in numerous fun promotion photos and videos, whilst Anneka will be attending the Stoke Mandeville Tea Party on Tuesday 4th June.
We were also graced with visits from our brilliant garden designers, including Cleve West, James Alexander-Sinclair, Joe Swift, Tom Stuart-Smith and Sarah Price, who will be designing Horatio’s Garden Cardiff. Whilst Joe and Sarah enjoyed our beautiful Emma Bridgewater mugs, Cleve and James flaunted the Horatio’s Garden handkerchiefs in both a conventional and unconventional fashion…
We are so grateful to all of them for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to see us and for bringing a lot of fun to the stand too!
The National Garden Scheme team also joined us for a time, along with James Birch who is the president of the Historic Houses Association. Each were interested to find out how our week at Chelsea had been and enjoyed hearing all about the activities which took place in Horatio’s Garden last week as part of the National Garden Scheme’s 2019 ‘A Path to Health’ initiative.
Bill Amberg, designer of the new Horatio’s Garden leather tote bag, did a fabulous job of modelling his creations when he came to see us too, as did celebrated trumpeter Alison Balsom OBE when we encountered her at the show.
And whilst we love our bags dearly, there’s no outfit elevation needed when you’re a Chelsea Pensioner! We loved welcoming one of London’s iconic pensioners to the stand and it was terrific to hear his stories.
Thank you too all those who volunteered throughout the week too. You were all brilliant and delighted so many visitors with your unique stories about each Horatio’s Garden and the gardens’ extraordinary impact on those who visit them.
It was also great to be featured twice during the week on BBC Radio Wiltshire! Both Olivia Chapple and Victoria Holton spoke with James Thomas as part of the station’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage, which made a special effort to seek out all Wiltshire-based attendees. The two also featured on the Wild About Wiltshire programme, discussing at length the ways in which our gardens support patients’ physical and mental rehabilitation throughout their long hospital stays.
You can listen to each interview below:
James Thomas Interview – Listen here from 1:26:50
Wild About Wiltshire Interview – Listen here from 45:10
We are so grateful to everyone who has come to see us and we hope to see many of you again in the future – whether it’s at Chelsea 2020, or at one of our many fundraising events between now and then!