Chesterfield Royal Hospital unveil Macmillan ‘legacy garden’

Dave Sanderson of the Royal's grounds team, Susan Sanderson of Macmillan,Vernon Sanderson of the NGS, Designer Lara Behr, Christine Sanderson of the NGS and Consultant Roger Start from the NGS Macmillan Unit
Dave Sanderson of the Royal's grounds team, Susan Sanderson of Macmillan,Vernon Sanderson of the NGS, Designer Lara Behr, Christine Sanderson of the NGS and Consultant Roger Start from the NGS Macmillan Unit

Chesterfield’s Macmillan Unit is celebrating its first birthday and, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the NHS, Chesterfield Royal Hospital have unveiled a Legacy Garden.

The unit, bringing together many of the Royal’s cancer outpatient services in one building, was opened to patients for the first time in June 2017.

Designer Lara Behr, Dave Sanderson of the Royal's grounds team and Vernon Sanderson from the National Garden Scheme

Designer Lara Behr, Dave Sanderson of the Royal's grounds team and Vernon Sanderson from the National Garden Scheme

The project was supported by a £2.5million fundraising campaign in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support that helped to turn what would have been an ordinary building into an extraordinary one that was created with the input of architects, staff at the Royal and patients who used the facility.

But Macmillan’s generosity didn’t end there. A legacy garden that won a gold medal at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park was gifted to the hospital in 2017.

While it took a bit of organising to find the right place for the garden and arrange for it to be installed, but the garden finally opened on Friday.

The Garden of Reflection was designed by Lara Behr and highlights the work of the charity and the importance of legacy gifts.

Designer Lara Behr in her show garden at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Designer Lara Behr in her show garden at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Timber poles of varying sizes represent the work of Macmillan that has been made possible by donations, both and large and small, particularly significant for the NGS Macmillan Unit and the contribution made by so many fundraisers across the local community and the National Garden Scheme (NGS).

Lara Behr said: “It was a genuine honour to create this garden for Macmillan and I hope it brings some comfort and peace to people who need it while they’re at this hospital.

“I took my inspiration from a wishing well and that feeling of hope and excitement I felt as a child whenever I had the chance to throw a penny in and make a wish. I wanted to capture that, to celebrate the good things that come from having hope for the future.”

Roger Start is the Trust’s Lead Cancer Clinician and oversaw the building of the unit. He said: “It’s a wonderful gesture from Macmillan and highlights that our partnership didn’t end with the fundraising campaign.

The former RHS show garden installed at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital

The former RHS show garden installed at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital

“The fabulous NGS Macmillan Unit allows us to care for local cancer patients and their loved-ones, both physically and emotionally, in a purpose-built environment that is ready for the future.

“The only thing missing was a proper garden where patients and staff can enjoy a bit of fresh air, peace and reflection away from everything. “Gardens can be really beneficial to health and well-being, particularly for those with cancer. We are working hard to improve our open spaces and make them more accessible to both patients and staff.

“This garden is such a fitting tribute to everyone who raised money and helped us to make this building what it is which is an incredibly facility within which our team can deliver the best possible care to our cancer patients in an environment that complements that care superbly.”

Sue Sanderson, Macmillan partnership manager, said: “Patient experience has always been at the forefront in the design of this building and this beautiful garden only enhances that further, providing another tranquil space for patients, family and carers to relax.

“It’s fitting that this should be unveiled on the 70th anniversary of the NHS to honour our ongoing partnership with the Chesterfield Royal Hospital.”

George Plumptre, CEO of National Garden Scheme said: “It’s wonderful to see the positive impact of the new NGS Macmillan Unit for local people a year on. Lara’s garden is a peaceful and natural place which will undoubtedly be cherished by patients and their families.”