Years of fundraising and painstaking planning has resulted in the opening of a special area for end of life patients to spend time with their loved ones.
The Butterfly Garden, at the West Suffolk Hospital, has been created thanks to funds raised by the My WiSH Charity.
An appeal was launched back in 2019 for the feature which culminated in £340,000 being collected.
Much of those funds have gone into the garden which took 16 weeks to complete and includes a glass-fronted retreat with furnishings, looking on to a garden with private sitting areas, plants and shade, and a specialist wheelchair … a perfect retreat for families and loved ones to catch up with patients coming towards the end of their life.
Volunteers have donated iconic items for the space, which is situated close to the hospital chapel, and there has been support from Neptune, in Bury St Edmunds, who donated the interior plans, materials and furnishings for the garden room.
Some of the items in the Butterfly Garden and the interior space. Photos: My WiSH Charity.
Officially opened on Tuesday, September 12, by Mark Pendlington, the High Sheriff of Suffolk, he said the feature created a “wonderful space”.
He said: “What you have created here is a very important and wonderful space. It is going to be such value to so many people.
“You see this busy hospital around you and what you yearn for is just a space and this space is going to be such a wonderful asset to the hospital and the space that has been created is going to be so fantastic and help so many people.
“You just want a place of calm and tranquillity … and the magic has happened.”
Sue Smith, My WiSH Charity head of fundraising, said seeing the garden finally open was “emotional”.
She said: “The hospital is a family and we have to work together very closely. We are humbled to be able to have this space here. You would never know you were in the middle of the hospital.
“It’s been a long journey and we’re so happy we are now able to offer this amazing facility.”
Visitors to the garden will be able to play, pets can visit and precious memories can be made at one of the most vulnerable times in life.
Sue added that the funds have been used for a variety of measures including comfort packs which contain essential items for people to stay beside the bed of their loved one, a palliative nurse, ready beds for family members to stay bedside and knitted bears to comfort patients.
The Butterfly Appeal is still open, with funds supporting end-of-life patients and their loved ones.
For more information, go to https://mywishcharity.co.uk/appeals/butterfly-appeal/