‘Dream come true’ garden success story

Wendy Duckworth's late husband Steve, who was the driving force behind Wendy's project to makeover the MENCAP garden.  Picture: Liz Mockler D2172LM
Wendy Duckworth's late husband Steve, who was the driving force behind Wendy's project to makeover the MENCAP garden. Picture: Liz Mockler D2172LM
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A COMMUNITY makeover of a garden has served as a fitting tribute to a man who died while doing the ‘job he loved’ for a learning disability charity.

Mencap worker Steve Duckworth, 53, died in October 2007 while he was working at a supported living complex in Hatfield. The exact cause of his death is unknown and it was recorded as Sudden Adult Death syndrome.

(Back l-r) Jenny Coupe, of Mencap, Wendy Duckworth, of Marks & Spencers, Kathy Read, of Mencap, (Front l-r) Asma Hassan and Gemma Grant, both of Marks & Spencers, are volunteering to revamp to garden at Mencap. Picture: Andrew Roe

(Back l-r) Jenny Coupe, of Mencap, Wendy Duckworth, of Marks & Spencers, Kathy Read, of Mencap, (Front l-r) Asma Hassan and Gemma Grant, both of Marks & Spencers, are volunteering to revamp to garden at Mencap. Picture: Andrew Roe

Steve’s widow Wendy, of Bullivant Road in Hatfield, wanted to do something in his memory - and she set about a transformation of the Doncaster Mencap garden on Thorne Road.

She said: “I wanted to give something back for all the support they’d given me. I heard about the garden and I decided we could do a kind of Groundforce-style makeover.”

Speaking about losing Steve, she said: “My life turned upside down. I was happily married for 32 years and my life changed in an instant. Mencap has been so supportive of me. They were amazing.”

M&S employee Wendy, 58, explained that the company asks each employee to dedicate a day a year to services to charity.

She co-ordinated a team of workers from Doncaster Mencap, M&S and other busineses to don their gardening gloves and work on the garden. New lighting, a new ramp and wooden furniture were among the additions to the garden, which is now being enjoyed by Mencap members and carers.

Wendy added: “The only sad thing is that Steve is not here to see it.”

Among the many businesses who helped the project were HMP Moorlands and Marshall’s builders.

Doncaster Mencap volunteer Sue Holmes said a ‘huge’ thank you to all who had contributed, adding that the garden had been ‘overhauled to a standard beyond our dreams’.