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Brackley Care Home garden dedicated to war veteran whose granddaughter designed it

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A new family garden at Brackley Care Home will be dedicated to the memory of a Second World War veteran whose granddaughter designed it.

Isabella Allen, 12, a student at The Buckingham School, used watercolours to depict a peaceful garden with bright, scented flowers and a fish pond with a water feature.

When told she had won, beating more than 100 other impressive entries, she said she had been inspired by her grandfather Shirley Allen, known as Shirl, who served in the Eighth Army in Italy during the war.

“He was living in a care home before he passed away in December and I was so sad not being able to see him more at the end due to Covid,” she said.

“My grandad had dementia, but he liked gardens and loved walking. He liked walking in countryside but just to the shop and back would be enough; when he could no longer walk that far I pushed him in his wheelchair.”

She said she wanted a garden that people with dementia could go around and see, hear, smell and touch different things; it also had to be accessible for wheelchairs.

“My garden has a circular flat path with four sections, Sight and Smell, Wind and Sound, Water and Touch and Relax, Smell and Touch,” she added.

Isabella and her family, who live in Buckingham, will be invited to the opening of the garden in the summer; the water feature will be named Shirl’s Fountain in her grandfather’s memory.

Sheena Croston, manager of the Kingsley Healthcare run home, in Wellington Road, Brackley, said: “We were thrilled by the number of entries to our competition in the Buckingham and Brackley Advertiser.

“Entrants ranged in age from four to 16 and came from seven local schools. So much thought and imagination went into the designs and I only wish that we had been able to choose more than three.

“Ideas included everything from giant chess boards and bingo tables to putting greens and swings.

“We loved Isabella’s design and felt it would be a beautiful garden that would be visually appealing and stimulating to all ages.”

Isabella will receive a prize of arts materials and her school will receive an engraved bench.

The two runners-up, who will also receive arts materials, were Daisy Bairstow, 12, from Magdalen College, in Brackley, and William O’Gorman, 10, of Akeley Wood School, Milton Keynes.

Julie Wilson, the home’s customer relations manager, who organised the competition, said: “Daisy’s entry included raised beds so we will make one that she can come along and plant with sensory flowers. It will have a plaque naming ‘Daisy’s flower bed’. 

“William’s entry included named benches and one of our residents, Cliff Bilney, particularly liked Bench of Peace and is looking forward to sitting on it and looking at the fish.”

 Daisy, delighted to be a runner up, said: “I was inspired to design this garden by others I have seen. I know that bright colours can make a garden a relaxing place to be. I wanted it to attract wildlife and promote bio-diversity but also to provide a stimulating, refreshing place to be for Brackley Care Home residents and their families.”

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  • chuk 2023 v3
  • Enabling Research in Care Homes
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