A team of youngsters will definitely earn their chocolate eggs this Easter by helping a local charity to transform a patch of outdoor space at Hinchingbrooke Hospital into a beautiful garden for cancer patients and their relatives to enjoy.
The Malcolm Whales Foundation, which raises money to support people who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis, has generously pledged £10,000 to regenerate a garden area located next to the waiting room in the Macmillan Woodlands Centre.
Over the Easter holidays, members of the local community will be working alongside a group of secondary students from a number of schools from across the county. The students that are volunteering their time to develop the garden are the same students who have walked the annual 40-mile Dorset Walk for the charity which contributed to the funds required for this project. The team of volunteers will all work together to create the new garden – overseen by the charity’s founder Damien Whales and the hospital’s Estates Team.
They are planning a ‘Ground Force’-style makeover to turn the current garden area, which consists of gravel and fencing, into a tranquil and inviting place that the centre users can enjoy in time for the warmer weather.
Damien Whales said: “We are working with a local landscaping firm and other organisations who have kindly offered support, so I am confident that our plans are coming together well. It’s exciting that this vision is becoming a reality. The youngsters will help create seating areas, pathways and planted areas which I hope patients, staff and visitors will make good use of.”
Lynda Hall, Lead Cancer Nurse for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “We are really looking forward to seeing the difference that the team from The Malcolm Whales Foundation will make to the garden. The Woodlands Centre is a busy place, and the garden can be seen from the waiting room, so it is wonderful to know our patients will soon have somewhere lovely to look out upon when they have an appointment with us.
“On behalf of the Woodlands Team and the hospital as a whole, I would like to thank Damien and his helpers for giving our garden a makeover.”
Damien and his team will begin their work on Saturday 13 April and have planned a day of major activity on the following Saturday, when many of the changes are expected to take shape
The Malcolm Whales Foundation was founded by Damien Whales in 2009 in memory of his father who lost his fight with bowel cancer a year earlier, aged only 55.
To fundraise for projects such as the garden renovation, the charity holds an annual event, a three-day trek which covers 40km of the Dorset coast. Participants include cancer survivors and their supporters, as well as groups of students who fundraise for the foundation throughout the year.
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