Dame Judi Dench opens dementia-friendly garden

Dame Judi Dench with the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Dorothy Ross-Tomlin (photo via SASH)


Actress Dame Judi Dench has opened a new dementia-friendly garden, the Camomile Courtyard, at East Surrey Hospital.

Patients living with dementia can find a hospital stay overwhelming, and the garden will provide them with a safe outdoor space.

SASH Charity were able to create the facility thanks to £23,000 donated by the community, including businesses, voluntary groups and individuals.

At the opening on 8 March, patients, local residents, donors and other guests viewed the garden’s nature areas, as well as the stimulating sounds and colours and other features designed to evoke patients’ memories and prompt conversations.

Dame Judi Dench said:

“I do congratulate everybody concerned, it is the most wonderful idea – to get out and just to be with people and to share the day, it’s a lovely thing to do and I hope it brings much joy.”

Andrew Bickerdike, fundraising manager at SASH Charity, said:

“The courtyard has been a real community project. Thank you to everyone who played a role in helping to bring the courtyard to life.

Having Dame Judi join us to open the courtyard, and spend time with patients and staff, was wonderful.

The courtyard is a great example of what is possible through supporting a local hospital charity.”

SASH Charity helps the work of Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) which runs the hospital.

Michael Wilson, SASH’s chief executive, also thanked those involved.

More about the project, and how to help, can be found via the SASH Charity website.

Donor list

(Excluding individuals): BAT Foundation; Caterham, Oxted and Godstone Lions Club; Christ Church, South Nutfield; Christ the King Church, Salfords; Denise Moseling; EBM Foods Ltd; East Surrey College; Family and Friends of Patricia Brooks; Holy Trinity Church, Redhill; Knights Garden Centres, Betchworth; Lawsons, Redhill; MCKS Charitable Foundation UK; Mitchells of Horley; Mole Country Stores, Redhill; MR Printers, Horsham; Outwood Women’s Institute; Redhill and Reigate Round Table; Redhill Football Club; Reigate College; SASH NHS Community Choir; SES Water; Squire’s Garden Centres, Reigate; St Mathew’s Church, Redhill; St Nicholas Church, Godstone; Surrey County Council Members’ Community Allocation; Tesco; The Crawley Catholic Parish; The Include Choir; Toyota GB; Wiltshire Farm Foods, Redhill.


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