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Hospices in bloom thanks to donation of roses


Patients and staff at two of Oxfordshire's hospices can enjoy some beautiful roses in the surrounding gardens thanks to the postponement of this year's Chelsea Flower Show. 

'Finding our Way; an NHS Tribute Garden' was due to be presented on behalf of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford in May 2021, but, because of the pandemic, has been moved to September 2021. As a result, the team behind the garden had £2000 worth of roses going spare. It was suggested they be donated to Sobell House in Oxford, and Katharine House Hospice in Banbury.

The project was supported by Brian Ashdown, volunteer Head Gardener based at Katharine House Hospice, who helped with the designs and the planting of the roses at both sites, as well as being helped by several volunteer gardeners.

Diane Gardner, CEO at Sobell House Hospice Charity, said: "This is a really lovely addition to our gardens. The roses are beautiful and will provide an abundance of fragrance and colour in the summer months. We are incredibly grateful to receive them.

"It has been wonderful to see our patients enjoying the gardens, especially in the finer weather, which helps make their time in our care the best it can be."

Trevor Johnson, CEO at Katharine House, said: "This is a wonderful gift. Spending time in the garden has so many benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary later in 2021, the 75 rose bushes we have received are a perfect addition to our gardens. I am sure they will be enjoyed by all at our hospice for many years to come."

Professor John Frater, a consultant at OUH, is part of the Chelsea garden team and was involved in arranging the donations. He said: "We're so pleased that these roses have found two excellent homes. After the arrangements changed for the flower show, we found ourselves with nearly 100 rose bushes on our hands, and wanted to find somewhere they'd be appreciated. I do hope both patients and staff manage to get some time to sit and enjoy them, and I'm really grateful for everyone's help in getting them planted."

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at OUH, said: "We're incredibly touched by this very kind gesture. Both Sobell House and Katharine House provide the most excellent and compassionate care to patients, and we hope both our staff and our patients are able take a moment to themselves to enjoy these colourful new additions."

You can find out more about the hospices on the Sobell House and Katharine House fundraising websites.

Pictured: roses at Katharine House.