First Touch Garden Opening
At the end of September CED Stone Group were invited to attend the official opening of The First Touch Garden at St. George’s hospital in West London. We were delighted to accept
First Touch is a charity dedicated to the neonatal ward at St. George’s Hospital, and they have spent nearly 20 years dedicating their time to raising awareness and money to fund equipment and projects to improve outcomes for the babies treated in the ward and their families. Many of these babies are born prematurely, some of whom at only 24 weeks (40 weeks is considered normal). However, with the right care and equipment these babies can grow up to live normal, healthy lives.
In 2013 CED Stone Group donated Scottish Beach Pebbles to garden designer Patrick Collins, for his Gold medal winning First Touch garden at the Chelsea Flower show. CED were delighted to hear from Patrick again with regards to supporting the charity this year. We were happy to agree and donated a larger range of materials including Scottish Beach Pebbles, Cotswold Gravel, Yorkshire Walling and Cedec Footpath Gravel. The garden went on to receive a silver-gilt medal.
The First Touch garden concept was selected to be re-created at St. George’s Hospital to provide a tranquil space to be used by families and patients of the hospital. CED therefore went on to donate all the materials that had been used at the Chelsea Flower show, and more. First Touch organised an official opening for the completed garden. St. Matthew’s Primary School opened the ceremony with their student choir, who put on a captivating performance and beautifully sang a number of inspirational songs. This was followed by a brief speech from St. George’s Chief Executive, Miles Scott, and then the garden was officially opened by BBC Presenter Sophie Raworth.
Mr Scott said: “I am delighted to welcome the legacy First Touch Chelsea Flower Show garden to St. George’s. It is a truly beautiful way to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by premature babies and their families.
“First Touch is an immensely important charity to St. George’s. They work tirelessly to raise considerable funds and provide emotional support for both our patients and neonatal staff, and we are proud as a trust to be working side-by-side with them.
“I would especially like to thank Patrick Collins and all of those who have volunteered their time and expertise to design and create this eye-catching garden. It is a stunning space, which I know will be enjoyed by our staff, patients and visitors.”
The event saw a massive turnout with very few dry eyes. The Mayor of Wandsworth also made an appearance and was awe-inspired by both the garden and the choir performance. Parents of current patients and previous patients (referred to as “graduates”) were also in attendance and brought a sincere warmth to the event. It was clear to see that First Touch has helped and supported many babies and their families through very difficult times.
The finished garden was very impressive and designed in such a way that it represents the journey faced by the families of premature babies, which can often be long and turbulent. The focus is the Quartz Paddlestone wall, which runs through the entire garden from beginning to end. The meandering nature of the wall was done as a metaphor for the uncertainty and instability of the journey. The wall begins in closed surroundings made from dark coloured stone and ends in an open environment having transitioned to lighter materials. This was done to represent the struggle and darkness at the start of the treatment, leading to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Patrick Collins, award winning garden designer said: “I am delighted to be involved with such a worthy cause and hope the First Touch garden will be enjoyed by families with babies on the neonatal unit, trust staff and all visitors to St. George’s, whilst raising awareness of the wonderful work of the neonatal unit and its charity First Touch.” The Mayor of Wandsworth and the Miles Scott, CEO of St Georges Hospital
This well organised event brought awareness to the cause, and it also helped to highlight the amount of effort the hospital puts into helping premature babies and their families achieve a happy and normal life. CED Stone Group were genuinely proud to have been given the opportunity to be involved and to support the First Touch Charity and the Hospital in their pursuit of raising awareness and funds. CED look forward to working with both Patrick and The First Touch charity again in the future.
If you would like to know more about The First Touch Charity or to make a donation, then please visit their website: http://www.first-touch.org.uk/