Renovation work begins at Rutland Memorial Hospital

Photo:  MSMP240812-034ow'Rutland Memorial Hospital, Oakham. File picture. ENGEMN00120120824183613
Photo: MSMP240812-034ow'Rutland Memorial Hospital, Oakham. File picture. ENGEMN00120120824183613
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Work is due to begin on transforming a courtyard at Rutland Memorial Hospital into a therapeutic garden for patients, visitors and staff.

Designed by Oakham-based Thomas Wilson Architects and to be built by landscape garden expert David Penny, the work, costing £38,000, is being paid for using part of a bequest from Uppingham undertaker Edward Toon, who left more than £150,000 to the hospital in Cold Overton Road, Oakham.

As well as low-maintenance planting, the hospital plans to add a series of locally-commissioned artworks to the garden.

A plaque paying tribute to Mr Toon will be placed in the garden, which is overlooked by the hospital’s in-patient Rutland Ward.

The average time spent on Rutland Ward is 21 days and the garden will play a crucial role in aiding recovery and making patients’ time in the hospital as pleasurable as possible.

Original plans have been scaled back to better reflect the size of the area. It will feature raised borders, high-specification artificial turf, wheelchair-friendly flooring and contrasting pathways to help visually-impaired patients. Work will start in September.

Pat Morley from the hospital’s League of Friends welcomed the plans.

She said: “This will improve the environment for patients and visitors alike and we are looking forward to its completion.

“We have many members who are looking forward to helping out, once the area is complete.

“It is also good that the project is being kept local with local architect and landscape gardener being contracted to do the work.”

Rutland ward manager Sister Maria Ward said: “We are delighted to have a provisional start dateso the garden can be enjoyed by patients and visitors from late autumn onwards.

“Although the project has suffered from a number of delays, the aim is to create a peaceful and contemplative space that is safe and easy to maintain. It will encourage patients and visitors to spend time outside, away from the clinical environment.”

The hospital is looking into further ways to make the “best use of Mr Toon’s generous legacy”.

An official opening ceremony is being planned for next spring but patients will be able to spend time in the garden from this autumn.