A green-fingered volunteer has helped to brighten up the day of patients receiving treatment at the Countess of Brecknock Hospice by turning a previously overgrown outdoor space into a beautiful garden.
The hospice, which is on the site of Andover War Memorial Hospital and run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is currently undergoing a £4.2million extension programme that will improve the facilities and allow more patients to be treated.
As a result of this building programme, day hospice services, which allow patients to meet and speak to other people going through similar experiences, as well as giving them access to various therapies, has been relocated to a different part of the hospital.
The area where it is now located had previously been empty and the associated garden had become overgrown and untidy.
Jim Hanson, who spends around 16 hours a week gardening as a volunteer at the hospital, saw the potential in the space and made it his mission to create a garden that could be enjoyed by the patients.
With the help of fellow volunteer, Mick Bevan, Jim cut back the overgrown bushes, cleaned the patio and path, created flower beds and put pots full of flowering plants on the patio.
Patients have already commented on the transformation and Jim, 75, is looking forward to the summer, when they will be able to spend more time in the garden.
He said: “I’m really happy with the way the garden has turned out and I’m looking forward to seeing all of the plants in bloom.
“The staff and patients have been really nice and seem to really appreciate the work we have done. I think they’ll really get the benefit later in the year, when it’s warm enough for them to sit out in the garden more often.
“I really enjoy gardening. It’s something I used to do with my dad when I was a kid. I first started volunteering at the hospice after my wife had been a patient there. That was in 2003 and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Sarah McGaughey, clinical matron at the Countess of Brecknock Hospice, said: “The garden looks amazing and on behalf of all of the patients and staff who are enjoying it already, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jim and Mick.
“Jim does a fantastic job of making sure that all of the outdoor areas look fantastic for our patients, the whole year round. Not only does he spend many hours tending to the plants each week, he even pays for the soil and flowers.”