A wellbeing garden for NHS staff has opened at Lister Hospital in Stevenage in memory of a much-loved colleague, who sadly passed away last year from motor neurone disease.
Marilyn’s Memorial Garden for Staff Wellbeing has opened in honour of senior health play specialist Marilyn Goodhew, who worked at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust for more than 25 years before her retirement in 2016.
Marilyn was the driving force behind the team’s Magic of Play Appeal which saw a new playroom built on the children’s ward, but also had ambitions to create an outdoor space nearby for paediatric staff to enjoy.
Sadly Marilyn was not able to see this dream become a reality but, thanks to generous community donations and businesses offering their services, the garden is now open
Marilyn’s husband Bob did the honours on Saturday 4 September – cutting a ribbon to declare the garden at open as staff and those who built it watched on.
Lister-based health play specialist Ruby Gill, both a colleague and a friend to Marilyn, said: “Marilyn always wanted to create a space that could be enjoyed by paediatric staff at Lister Hospital.
“When Marilyn passed away last July after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, I decided it was time to honour Marilyn’s wish and complete this garden in her memory.
“The play specialist and paediatric teams are so thankful to those who have played their part to make this project a reality.
“Everyone involved has done an absolutely amazing job, generously providing materials and their time for free.
“I hope the staff here can enjoy this space for many years to come, remembering Marilyn and taking moments to relax and enjoy having our very own outdoor space.”
The project was kick-started with support from Stevenage People from People founder Kenny Arnold and patrons of the community group, with Andy O’Keefe and his brothers John, James and Jeremiah designing and landscaping the garden.
They received help from Stevenage-based Steven Wise of Wise Scaffolding, Michael Notschild of Own Homes, Tracey Lingley of Beloved Baskets, Gibbs & Dandy, Watts Roofing, and ACS Aggregates, as well as Perfect Artificial Lawns and Joseph Rochford Gardens in Hertford.