Rainbow Garden dedicated to those who lost their lives to Covid-10 is officially opened in Doncaster

Health professionals have now officially opened the ‘Rainbow Garden’ at Bassetlaw Hospital, a space which is dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

The event, last Friday, was led by Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, with a number of special guests ranging from those who had donated or helped develop the garden, as well as friends, relatives and loved ones of those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

During the official opening ceremony, Richard was able to reveal a bespoke sculpture created by local artist Kenny Roach.

He picks up the story: “I was asked to produce a rustic sculpture to remember the friends and loved ones that were lost during recent years but I feel that this artwork is also for everyone no matter what their circumstances are or have been.

The official opening

“The sculpture itself has been formed as I see it as the circle of life and within that circle there are so many other things that can be gathered to take some kind of personal solace from this piece of artwork.

“The thorny type branches for instance that run through this artwork represent the troubles and difficulty of our lives.

“I have also placed 12 doves to represent the months of the year and the passage of time.

"I see these doves as gentle caring vehicles being busy transferring the leaves of the olive which are connected to the energies of loved ones and symbolises peace, friendship, and healing through a portal into wherever the individual should wish to imagine.

The finished result

“Finally, the ivy leaves through the artwork also help our loved ones understand the feeling of not wanting to let go but I feel that this is poignant to us now and certainly for our families and friends of generations to come.”

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The Rainbow Garden project began in June 2020, as colleagues at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), with support from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals’ Charity, 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, Lorraine Butterfield, Susan Bishop and Tracy Robinson all of whom passed away from the illness in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

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 allowing the work on the garden spaces to get underway in earnest at Bassetlaw Hospital first, and latterly at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

An aerial shot of the new space

The first Rainbow Garden was completed in September 2020 at Bassetlaw, however due to COVID-19 restrictions the official opening ceremony was delayed until a more appropriate time. Between now and then, colleagues and patients within the hospital site have been able to enjoy the area, with it proving particularly popular during the summer months.

The Rainbow Garden was created by John and Carolyn Fox, with support from staff at Anpario, an international manufacturer and distributor of animal feeds and additivities, who also made a significant donation of £10,000 to help create the remembrance space.

Jon Sargeant, Deputy 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 particular at Bassetlaw Hospital, the Trust received £10,000 from Anpario and support from their staff, while John Fox, and his wife Carolyn who used to work within our Finance team, also made a kind donation of their time to develop the garden. The resulting space is beautiful and a fitting tribute to those in whose memory it is dedicated.”

A perfect place for reflection

If you have questions or would like to request more information in regards to this appeal, or for any other charitable project at the Trust, please contact the Charity Team on Tel: 01302 644244, email: [email protected] or head to http://www.dbth.nhs.uk/charity

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.