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A labour of love

Sheila Armstrong

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Blythe House HospiceEccles FoldLucy MarsdenSandra DoffettPhil and Gwynneth Langford

Beautiful Blythe House Gardens

FOR those wanting to enjoy some quiet reflection amongst nature the sunny garden at Blythe House Hospice is a leafy oasis which is loved by both patients and staff alike.

When the purpose-built hospice at Eccles Fold opened in 1999 there was originally a pond in the middle of the garden but this was filled in when the area was redesigned to make it more accessible. Nowadays the well tended beds are filled with shrubs, herbs and colourful flowers which patients can enjoy while doing activities in the hospice's conservatory which overlooks it.

In May the garden was transformed into a sea of yellow for the hospice's Sunflower Memories Appeal. Each of the 200 flowers displayed in the garden was dedicated to a loved one and visitors were encouraged to drop in and see them.

It's the second time that the hospice has run the appeal and this year it raised £3,800. Lucy Marsden, Fundraising and Communications Manager said: "The feedback has been really positive. People seem to like dedicating a sunflower and popping in to look at it in the hospice garden."

Blythe House

Keeping the garden in tip-top shape is a labour of love for the hospice's three volunteer gardeners. While Sandra Doggett looks after the front garden, husband and wife team Phil and Gwynneth Langford have tended the main one for the past three years.

Phil said: "When we first took it over it was in a bit of a state but we have put in lots of new plants and bulbs and painted the fence and trellis. Our favourite spot is the raised beds as the patients like to sit there and we enjoy joining them for a chat and cup of tea."

Blythe House

Altogether Phil and Gwynneth put in half a day a week in the garden and go there in all weathers. Phil said: "The three years have just flown past and we look forward to going every Wednesday."

(Blythe House Hospice provides services for people living in and around the High Peak who are affected by cancer, other life-limiting illness or bereavement)