On Monday 28 June, health professionals at Doncaster Royal Infirmary officially opened a remembrance ‘Rainbow Garden’ in memory of all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
In June 2020, colleagues at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) started to fundraise with an ambition to create two beautiful spaces in honour of those affected by COVID-19, in particular colleagues, Kevin Smith, Dr Medhat Atalla and Lorraine Butterfield, who sadly passed away from the illness last year.
With a target of £35,000 set for the project, with the help of almost 300 supporters and donations large and small, in just eight weeks the goal had been met, with over £50,000 raised and work on the garden spaces underway at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital respectively.
Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive at the Trust, takes up the story: “The kindness shown to the Trust throughout the pandemic has been truly extraordinary, however the support shown to the creation of a pair of Rainbow Gardens was beyond our expectations and I want to share deep thanks on behalf of everyone at DBTH.
“In just a few weeks we had received hundreds of donations, with one local business, Anpario PLC, amongst others, presenting the Trust with a cheque for more than £10,000. On a smaller scale, but nonetheless appreciated, we received donations from individuals undertaking sponsored runs, bake sales and even one colleague who, having written a book of poetry, donated a percentage of proceeds from sales to the campaign. Everyone’s efforts have been truly heart-warming.”
The Rainbow Garden at Bassetlaw Hospital was completed in September 2020, with the help of staff at Anpario, as well as gardener John Fox and his wife Carolyn, an NHS accountant. Since that time, work has been underway designing and creating the Doncaster space, which was officially unveiled today, and will be accessible to staff and visitors on 29 June.
Richard continues: “I am so pleased that we have been able to officially open the Rainbow Garden at Doncaster Royal. For the occasion we were joined by the people who have brought the garden to life, our amazing sponsors, as well as friends and family members of those colleagues who are no longer with us.
“The past 15 months have been incredibly challenging not only for us as a Trust, but for everyone both locally and across the country. Collectively we have all sacrificed in order to try and keep one another safe, and while we have experienced moments of intense sadness, I believe that we are finally moving towards a brighter and, hopefully, safer future.”
With over £50,000 raised for this project, leftover funds will be used to improve infrastructure across the Trust such as placing benches so that health professionals, visitors and patients can take a break or rest outside on hospital grounds, weather permitting, amongst other initiatives.
A number of sponsors have supported the Rainbow Garden campaign, either donating funds, their time or resources (or a mixture of all three). These include: Wilko, Anpario, Polypipe Building Products, Taylor Wimpey, Morgan Sindall, Lindrick Construction, RJ Electricals, PSL Print, NHS Professionals, Bassetlaw Hospital League of friends, Pandrol Worksop, Hall Fencing, Notcutts Welbeck Garden Centre, Shedcetra of Retford, Viridor, SharpSmart, MechFS, Ikea, Reshaped, Johnsons of Whixley, Keepmoat and AWS Landscapers Ltd.
Throughout the project, the Trust has relied on the kindness of local companies, for example Bradley and Trotter Restoration LTD donated their time and labour to create an incredible stone bench. With all of the masonry work completed by Simon Trotter, the husband of Annette, a nurse specialist within the hospital’s Department of Critical Care, the bench takes pride of place within the garden with the inscription ‘Take a seat to remember loved ones’.
As of 23 June, health professionals at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) have cared for 3,328 COVID-19 positive inpatients, having safely discharged 2,505 of them and 820 having sadly passed away.