Work underway to create Covid-19 memorial garden at local hospital

An official ground-breaking ceremony will mark the start of works to create a special memorial garden at Bassetlaw Hospital, dedicated to all those lost to Covid-19.

In June of this year, colleagues at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) started fundraising with an ambition of creating two beautiful spaces in honour of those affected by Covid-19, in particular two colleagues, Kevin Smith and Dr Medhat Atalla, who sadly passed away earlier in the year due to complications arising from the illness.

The idea for the memorial gardens came from staff at the Trust who expressed a need for a place to go to reflect following the challenges they have faced over the last four months.

In little under eight weeks, the fundraiser known as the ‘Rainbow Garden Appeal’ has generated over £40,000, with a number of generous donations given by local people and businesses. The first of the two dedicated spaces will commence work at Bassetlaw Hospital, followed by Doncaster Royal Infirmary in the coming weeks.

The Rainbow Garden at the Worksop site has been designed and created by J P Fox Services.  John and Carolyn Fox have volunteered their time free-of-charge following the death of their mother from Covid-19 as a thank you for the care and support they received at Bassetlaw Hospital.  An official ground breaking ceremony will take place on Wednesday 16 September and the event will be held in accordance with Covid-19 guidance and will be attended by a small number of contributors and colleagues.

David Purdue, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “As an organisation we have been humbled by the amount of support we have received from our local communities throughout the past few months.

“When we launched our Rainbow Garden appeal, we were expecting to raise £25,000, with a stretch target to £35,000 that we thought might be achieved in our wildest dreams. However, local people had other ideas, and, as ever, have gone above and beyond, and raised more than £40,000 which will be used to create two beautiful gardens in memory of much missed friends, family and loved ones.”

At Bassetlaw Hospital, the garden will be nearby the Children’s Observation Unit, towards the rear of the site. Currently, this space is just grassed and unused, while at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, the garden will be nearby the site’s Fracture Clinic overlooking our Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Currently, this space is just grassed and unused. The finished gardens will feature places to sit, beautiful plants and scenery and even a sculpture created by a local artist.

David continues: “To everyone who has contributed to make this dream a reality, we share our deepest of thanks. This includes Anpario, Bassetlaw District Council, MechFS, Polypipe, Taylor Wimpey, Morgan Sindall, Pandrol UK, PSL Print, NHS Professionals, RJ Electricals, Lindrick Constructions, Notcutts Garden Centre,  Wilkos, Ikea, Evergreen Compost, Shedcetera and countless individuals who are far too numerous to name. From the bottom of our heart, we thank you all.”

With an ambitious timeline, the garden is expected to be completed and open by Friday 25 September. These communal spaces will be available to colleagues and the local community who have been affected by Covid-19, and will give them a place to go to remember, reflect and recharge.