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Famous designer reveals vision for therapy garden at Aberdeen hospital

Pictured from left, Caroline Kritchlow from Friends of Neuro ARI, James Alexander Sinclair
Pictured from left, Caroline Kritchlow from Friends of Neuro ARI, James Alexander Sinclair

A top garden designer has drawn inspiration from one of his earlier creations while creating plans for a rehabilitation garden in Aberdeen.

James Alexander-Sinclair, one of the foremost garden designers in the UK, is putting together his design plans for a therapy garden at Woodend Hospital.

Friends of the Neuro Ward is currently trying to raise £250,000 for the project.

And Mr Alexander-Sinclair has revealed he has looked to Horatio’s Garden at the Scottish National Spinal Injuries Unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for inspiration.

His vision includes transforming the sparse green space at Woodend into a vibrant, colourful and accessible therapy garden which will evoke a “feeling of well-being”.

He said: “It may seem a small space to work with, but we can still pack a lot into the area – it has potential and I’m excited to begin work.

“The therapy garden will be a place of sanctuary not only for patients, but also their family members and staff.”

Mr Sinclair (left) has appeared on shows such as the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge

Mr Sinclair also plans to include a physiotherapy zone with different surfaces, so that people learning to walk again can get practice in a different setting than they are used to within the confines of the hospital.

Friends of the Neuro Ward, which supports patients at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Woodend,

Founder Caroline Critchlow said: “It is scientifically proven that gardens can provide peace, and be a bridge on the rehabilitation journey, for patients.

“In the long-term they can also vastly improve the patients’ mental health.

“James has some brilliant plans for the space which I am so excited to see come to fruition, as is he.

“Particularly for family members travelling from far away, say from Shetland or Elgin, the sheltered building in the garden will give families a change of scene and somewhere to gather in peace.”

Pictured from left, Caroline Kritchlow from Friends of Neuro ARI, Arlene Ingram, Senior Charge Nurse, James Alexander Sinclair and Gillian McDonald, Deputy Service Manager at Woodend Hospital last month.

As part of the ongoing fundraising campaign for the garden, Mr Sinclair has donated two tickets for RHS Malvern – which includes front row tickets to see gardening favourite Monty Don.

The festival features plant displays, cooking classes and presentations.

The charity is currently running a competition to give away the tickets – visit www.facebook.com/FOTNWARI

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