A secret garden has been opened in the heart of the Friarage Hospital for palliative care patients and their families thanks to a local charity.
The secret oasis offers patients, visitors and staff a space for reflection as well as for those therapeutic quiet times.
It was created by Beth Robinson, the landlady of the Beeswing Inn in East Cowton, and her incredible fundraisers in memory of her father Les.
In 2014, Beth and her friends formed the Cowtonbury Music Festival to raise funds for those who cared for her mother after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.
Thankfully Beth’s mum recovered but Beth’s dedication to fundraising didn’t stop there.
The garden is the newest addition in their mission to create more family spaces for people to spend their final moments with their loved ones away from the clinical hospital environment.
Beth explained that her dad, who died in 2018 in the Friarage’s palliative care unit, was the inspiration behind the garden.
She said: “Dad’s care at the Friarage was truly amazing. However, what stuck out during his care was the lack of family spaces.
“Dad loved the outdoors; he would rather be outside than stuck behind hospital doors.”
A tranquil space
Thanks to Beth’s team, volunteers from the Northdale horticulture scheme and the local community, the secret courtyard now has a natural look and feel, offering pagoda style weather protection for patients and their families.
Utilising a local designer and local artists, the garden reflects the Friarage’s ‘Tree of Life’ theme which is seen throughout the hospital.
“It’s great to see the garden now complete and ready for patients and their families, I feel really emotional and proud,” said Beth.
It was officially opened by Hambleton District Council leader Mark Robson and fellow Hambleton councillor Steve Watson.
Following the opening, David Pratt the Friarage’s general manager said: “We are delighted to have worked with the Cowtonbury team on the secret garden project.
“The garden will provide a valuable space for reflection and respite for our patients and their families as well as for our staff. We look forward to working with the Cowtonbury team on future projects.”
As well creating the secret garden, which cost £45,000, the Cowtonbury team has refurbished a family room on the hospital’s Romanby Ward.
They hope to create another palliative care family room at the Friarage as well as a palliative care suite/unit within the hospital.