By: 12 March 2020
Horatio’s Garden Charity: Breaking new ground in Stanmore

Horatio’s Garden officially began their fifth project at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore (RNOH) in March, with the help of celebrity ambassador Anneka Rice.

The national charity create and nurture beautiful gardens in NHS spinal injury centres to support everyone affected by spinal injury. To date they have planted hope for patients, their families and friends in Salisbury, Scotland, Stoke Mandeville and Oswestry. Now, having raised an incredible total of £1.2 million, work on Horatio’s Garden London is underway.

As the breaking ground ceremony’s special guest, Anneka Rice was first to take a spade to the ground, along with the charity’s Founder and Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple. They were closely followed by the garden’s acclaimed designer, Tom Stuart-Smith, who has a total of eight RHS Chelsea gold medals to his name and three awards for ‘Best in Show’. Award-winning architect Stephen Marshall was in attendance too, having collaborated with Tom throughout the project. In addition, various enthusiastic RNOH representatives celebrated the occasion, including Chief Operating Officer, Lucy Davies, and CEO of the RNOH Charity, Rosie Stolarski.

Anneka said: “I’ve seen the amazing work carried out by Horatio’s Garden in Stoke Mandeville over the years and this new garden will undoubtedly be a wonderful haven for patients and families. I can’t wait to see the charity’s story continue”.

Tom also gave a short speech, telling the crowd “We all know that gardening has this enormous impact on the quality of people’s lives. Horatio’s Garden London will be a place that offers hope, change and growth to everyone who visits”.

Horatio’s Garden London will be at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, which is one of only 11 NHS spinal injury centres in the UK. It has 40 beds and serves a catchment population of 5.8 million across London, Essex and Surrey. On average, patients spend a minimum of three months here, so staff as well as patients and their loved ones are enormously pleased to see the garden beginning to take shape thanks to the team from ARJ construction.

The garden will be fully accessible and will feature both a garden room and garden ‘pods’, ensuring that this stunning sanctuary can be used all year round. Once open, Horatio’s Garden London will be cared for by a dedicated team of volunteers, who will be led by a Head Gardener. They will nurture the garden, warmly welcome patients and their visitors, and support the therapeutic activities run by the charity. These include gardening, art, book and poetry clubs, craft workshops, food events and music concerts.

Each Horatio’s Garden costs £50,000 a year to run and the charity relies entirely on ongoing public support to continue its worthwhile work. 94 per cent of patients believe that spending time in Horatio’s Garden improves their sense of wellbeing, therefore Horatio’s Garden London will become a vital part of many people’s rehabilitation. The garden is due to open later this year, so the charity would love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer, fundraise or lend corporate support.

To get in touch, simply email

Picture caption: Anneka Rice, Horatio’s Garden Ambassador with Dr Olivia Chapple Head of Trustees at Horatio’s Garden

For more information about the charity, visit: