After a little festive winter’s break, the Horatio’s Garden Volunteer Poetry Group reconvened on Thursday for the first time this year! 

The group emerged in lockdown last year thanks to a group of volunteers from across our gardens who prior to the outbreak of Coronavirus had just begun hosting ‘Poetry & Patisseries’ workshops each week for patients, with the support of our Head Gardeners. 

Since then, with volunteers either being unable to visit the gardens as a result of shielding, or only being able to visit the gardens in reduced numbers to ensure everyone’s safety, the poetry group has naturally taken to Zoom.  

Whilst the sessions may not be quite the same, the joy they bring is certainly no different! There have been plenty of poems exchanged over the past few months by a host of authors, which have in turn been shared with patients by those visiting the gardens whenever they next volunteer.

Zoom call

This week’s call was once again a great success, beginning with Horatio’s Garden Midlands volunteer, Thelma, who read The Garden Year by Sarah Coleridge. The group agreed that this was particularly apposite for the moment and that they would certainly be letting patients know of its literary presence. 

Thelma was followed by two Stoke Mandeville volunteers, Pauline and Julia. Whilst Julia entertained the group with a Joyce Grenfell monologue, Pauline decided that it was time to bring a little deliciousness to the proceedings with a poem of her own creation about Hot Chocolate. She also asked everyone to write a little bit about what Easter means to them to contribute to a poem she’s been asked to pen, which the group are looking forward to hearing soon. 

As the session came to a close with everyone feeling the need to seek cocoa in one form or another, it was evident that the afternoon had been about much more than poetry. Those who had chatted the hours away not only did something thoughtful to offer some support to patients from afar, they simultaneously brought a bit of sunshine to each other, reminding everyone that whilst they might not be able to visit Horatio’s Garden together, they are very much there in spirit.