Roof top set to bloom

The Duchess of Devonshire looks around the new roof garden at the Cavendish Hospital with Carol McGrath

The Duchess of Devonshire looks around the new roof garden at the Cavendish Hospital with Carol McGrath

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A NEW roof garden for use by patients at Buxton’s Cavendish Hospital has been formally opened by the Duke of Devonshire.

The visit, on Monday, saw the Duke, and the Duchess, meet those behind the project which has taken three years to complete.

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire join staff and Andrew Fry Chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services for the opening of the new roof garden at the Cavendish Hospital

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire join staff and Andrew Fry Chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services for the opening of the new roof garden at the Cavendish Hospital

The roof garden, adjoining Spencer Ward, enables patients on the ward to enjoy fresh air and sunlight without the need to travel downstairs to get to the hospital’s grounds.

Patients on the ward are generally over 65 and have a range of mental health problems, such as dementia. Spending time in the open air is beneficial as it promotes orientation and helps to reduce levels of distress or anxiety.

The garden has been created with generous support from local people and the King’s Fund charity as part of the Enhancing The Healing Environment Project.

Andrew Fry, Chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services, said: “I would like to thank all those who have made this wonderful garden area.

Volunteer Pat Bown and activities coordinator Carol McGrath with the plaque made by patients.

Volunteer Pat Bown and activities coordinator Carol McGrath with the plaque made by patients.

“The views are spectacular. The flat roof was instrumental to and problematic for this particular garden.”

The Duke said: “It is such an imaginative thing that has been done. A lot of people have worked for three years, with varying degrees of involvement with this, and it is a fantastically good idea.

“A flat roof is not a thing anybody who has anything to do with buildings is very pleased to have. To turn that into such a positive is a wonderful achievement.

“Congratulations to all of you and those who have contributed financially as a memorial for loved ones.”

After cutting the ribbon to mark the opening the Duke was able to admire a new tile mural which has been created in his honour by patients with the help of Carol McGrath, activities coordinator.

“It took about four weeks altogether,” explained Carol, “The patients had a great time smashing up the tiles with a rolling pin. The grouting was extremely messy but one of the best bits.”

The tile mosaic takes pride of place in the new outdoor space which has two raised flower beds and seating.

Surrounding the roof garden are glass panels to ensure patient safety without spoiling the spectacular views. The glass has been etched with a pattern, from a design by staff nurse Mark Arnold, mirroring the topography of the views.