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June 2 2019

volunteers receive the queen’s award for voluntary service

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Volunteers at Horatio’s Garden Salisbury, based in the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre of Salisbury District Hospital, were honoured on 2nd June 2019 with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is equivalent to a group MBE and is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups. 

As our Salisbury garden was the first to be opened back in 2012 many of the volunteers here have been involved since the very beginning, making the award even more poignant. They have seen the charity grow from a local project to a national organisation which is now planting hope for spinal injury patients across the United Kingdom. It is testament to their incredible dedication that they are still as committed today as they were then, a quality which is perfectly acknowledged by this honour. 

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations to recognise the exceptional work volunteers do in their communities. On 25th July 2019, the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, the wonderful Mrs Sarah Troughton, presented the volunteers with a certifcate signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a domed glass crystal bearing the Award’s emblem. The ceremony was generously held at Longford Castle, the home of our patron Lady Radnor, where everyone enjoyed a beautifully bright evening that was filled with joy from beginning to end. Victoria Theakston, previously a patient in the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre, thoughtfully nominated the volunteers many months ago and was delighted to see their commitment honoured in such a magnificent way. We are so incredibly grateful to Victoria for all she has done for the charity, and she has continued to support Horatio’s Garden since leaving the spinal centre by volunteering at all kinds of events. She shared that her day spent on the charity’s stand at the Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year was certainly one of the many highlights!

Whilst the evening was spectacular in so many ways, it was particularly special to receive a message from our Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie, which was read by Lady Radnor:

“As Royal Patron of Horatio’s Garden, I would like to express my heartfelt welcome on this very special occasion and thank the Lord Lieutenant for hosting you on my behalf!

Thank you to each and every one of you for giving your time to support patients at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury over the last 7 years. Your volunteering is making a huge difference to the lives of those affected by spinal injury and the wider community as they see what a difference gardens can make in hospital settings.

Congratulations on this very well deserved award and I hope other Horatio’s Garden volunteer teams will be inspired by your achievement and go on to win this award in future.

Finally, my warmest thanks to everyone who supports the team – I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon.” 

You can also see Her Royal Highness’ official message by visiting the ‘Download PDF’ button at the top of this page.

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Horatio’s Garden aims to improve the lives of everyone affected by spinal injury by creating and nurturing beautiful garden sanctuaries in NHS spinal injury centres.  

Our volunteers are central to growing these thriving communities as they are entirely responsible for maintaining the garden, assisted only by the expertise of a Head Gardener. They also support patients in the charity’s weekly gentle garden and art therapy sessions, which help to improve patients’ mental and physical wellbeing. Most importantly though, our volunteers always offer patients and their loved ones time and kindness. 

A patient who was staying at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre spoke for many when praising the charity’s volunteers recently, saying “They are all so kind and generous, giving all the patients a warm welcome and, when the need is there, a listening ear to bend.” 

As Horatio’s Garden continues to rapidly expand, it’s lovely to know that the charity’s core values continue to be upheld seven years after the our story began. With three gardens currently open in Salisbury, Scotland and Stoke Mandeville and a fourth on the way at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, we are always on the lookout for new volunteers. Work is also due to begin on our fifth project at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore in the new year, so we would be delighted to welcome new team members there too. 

To enquire about volunteering opportunities, please email info@horatiosgarden.org.uk. 

Horatio’s Garden are extremely proud of all their volunteers, all of whom will undoubtedly treasure this well-deserved award for many years to come. 

“When I retired, I looked to help in a voluntary organisation which supports others. I heard about Horatio’s Garden and have never looked back. It is so rewarding.” – Tim, a volunteer at Horatio’s Garden Salisbury 

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