March 22, 2024

Martha Lane Fox visits Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville in advance of her Three Peaks Challenge

We recently welcomed Martha Lane Fox to Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville, ahead of her inspirational challenge of climbing the three highest peaks in the UK to raise money for several charities including Horatio’s Garden.

A leading businesswoman, philanthropist, and public servant, Martha Lane Fox has been a cross bench peer in the House of Lords since March 2013, at which point she was its youngest female member. She is currently President of the British Chambers of Commerce, Chancellor of the Open University, and Chairman of Lucky Voice, a company that she co-founded.

In 2004, Martha was involved in a life-altering car crash. Having broken 26 bones, she spent two years requiring constant medical care and continues to be in and out of hospital to this day.

Describing the impact of her injuries, Martha said: “I suffer from complex neurological and orthopaedic trauma and walk with two sticks, but I am lucky. Most people who suffer as I did do not make it, or are in a wheelchair.”

On the 20th anniversary of her accident, Martha decided to take on the Three Peaks Challenge in aid of four charities and will be scaling Snowdon on 20 April, Scafell Pike on 5 May and Ben Nevis on 7 September, all accompanied by her two seven year old sons.

Martha and her sons visited Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville to see the positive impact that the charity has on the lives of people with spinal injuries. Accompanying them was Martha’s aunt Dido, who has been volunteering in the garden for five years.

Reflecting on the power of the garden, Martha said: “Stoke Mandeville is one of the leading spinal units in the UK but it is still a challenging environment to spend months and months as you recover from life changing injuries. The low rise, dark wards are in stark contrast to the bright, cheery and green outside space built and maintained by Horatio’s Garden.”

Martha also had the chance to speak to multiple patients and their families: “One woman has been coming to the hospital every day since her husband’s accident and said ‘I would not be able to cope if I couldn’t come to this space. Every day my only mission is to get him out of the ward, into his wheelchair and over here.'”

She continued: “It was wonderful to see the impact the plants, flowers and garden room were having on the spinal injury patients and their families It is imperative to help and give some joy into the daily life in hospital by supporting Horatio’s Garden.”

Martha aims to raise £350,000, which will be split between four charities linked to her story: Day One, who provide support to help people navigate their recovery from extreme physical trauma; iamtheCODE, who train girls in refugee camps with computer science and digital skills; AbilityNet, who work to ensure that everyone can use digital services, especially people with disabilities; and Horatio’s Garden, who nurture the wellbeing of people with severe spinal injuries in stunning gardens across the UK.

We are so grateful to Martha for choosing to raise money for Horatio’s Garden. Please consider donating to Martha’s Mountain Mission here.

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