Proud students see their garden vision turned into a reality at Brackley Care Home
Three schoolchildren who helped to design a new family garden at Brackley Care Home were guests of honour at a party to celebrate its official opening.
Isabella Allen, 14, winner of the Kingsley Healthcare home’s garden design competition, was joined by runners-up Daisy Bairstow, 14, and 12-year-old William O’Gorman.
They looked on as the Mayor of Brackley, The Honourable Sue Sharps, cut a ribbon to officially open the garden on Saturday.
Isabella, a student at The Buckingham School, proudly stood by the garden’s new water feature named Shirl’s Water Haven in memory of her grandfather Shirley Allen who served in the Eighth Army in Italy during the war.
She said he had been living with dementia towards the end of his life and that had inspired her vision of a garden that people with dementia could go around and see, hear, smell and touch different things.
Daisy’s entry included raised flower beds and these have been incorporated into the garden with one being named “Daisy’s Sensory Garden”; the bed has been planted with herbs that the home’s chefs pick daily.
William came up with the idea of named benches and four have been installed: Bench of Pride, Bench of Peace, Bench of Calming and Bench of Harmony.
Brackley Care Home’s hospitality manager, Julie Wilson, said: “We would like to thank Isabella, Daisy and William for their fantastic ideas. Isabella has indicated that she would love to come back to the care home on a regular basis as a volunteer and be able to spend time in our garden with our residents and William and Daisy’s families have indicated that they too will be returning on a regular basis as they feel that they now have a direct vested interest in our garden and would love to spend time here helping where they can.”
She said the garden design competition had been a tremendous success, attracting entries from more than 100 children, aged five to 16, from schools including Akeley Woods, Winchester House, Magdalen College, Helmdon Primary, The Buckingham School, Farthinghoe Primary and The Radstone Primary.
Their imaginative ideas had ranged from bird feeders, bocce balls and bingo tables to putting greens, chess boards and jumping castles.
In addition to their original prizes of art materials, the three winners were also presented with specially chosen plants, a pair of gardening gloves and a watering can.
During the party, open to local people as well as residents and their families, a Pamper Hamper was raffled and won by resident’s daughter Bonnie Kay; the £375 proceeds were presented to the home’s adopted charity Dementia Active Banbury.