All eyes on Queen for roof gar­den open­ing at hos­pi­tal

Monarch ap­plauds work of all in­volved in cre­at­ing spe­cial out­door space at city hos­pi­tal

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES WYLLIE

“It was only pos­si­ble be­cause of ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eros­ity of a host of peo­ple”

The Queen has praised the fundrais­ers and vol­un­teers who turned the vi­sion of a roof gar­den into a re­splen­dent re­al­ity at a north-east hos­pi­tal.

She of­fi­cially opened the Robert­son Fam­ily Roof Gar­den at Aberdeen Royal In­fir­mary yes­ter­day.

Af­ter ar­riv­ing at the hos­pi­tal, the Queen met with the city’s Lord Provost, Barney Crock­ett, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of NHS Grampian in­clud­ing healthcare chap­lain the Rev James Fal­coner, who was the cat­a­lyst for the roof gar­den project.

She also spoke to the gar­den’s ar­chi­tect, de­sign­ers and gar­den­ers, be­fore view­ing a spe­cially-com­mis­sioned sil­hou­ette fea­ture of Bal­moral Cas­tle.

The Queen un­veiled a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque to mark the oc­ca­sion.

Mr Fal­coner guided the royal vis­i­tor around the hos­pi­tal for around 20 min­utes, while she met health board staff and pa­tients, and am­bas­sadors of the gar­den in­clud­ing for­mer Scot­land foot­ball man­ager Craig Brown.

He said: “It was re­ally a great hon­our that Her Majesty chose to come to open the roof gar­den, and recog­nises the courage of NHS Grampian to try the idea.

“It also high­lights all of the sup­port we have re­ceived from or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­mu­ni­ties – ev­ery­body who gifted the money we needed to al­low the gar­den to be cre­ated.

“I think the Queen felt it was a very lovely and ap­pro­pri­ate space to en­able some of our most se­verely ill pa­tients to be taken out­side with full ven­ti­la­tion.”

The £667,000 space opened to pa­tients, vis­i­tors and staff at the hos­pi­tal last year, af­ter four years of work.

The gar­den of­fers 24hour ac­cess to a safe out­door area, teem­ing with plants in­clud­ing laven­der and ferns.

The wheel­chair-friendly space also has a wa­ter fea­ture and a small gazebo, to al­low its vis­i­tors to shel­ter from the el­e­ments. Mr Fal­coner added: “It is of par­tic­u­lar phys­i­cal, men­tal, emo­tional and spir­i­tual ben­e­fit to crit­i­cally ill and long-term adults and chil­dren, es­pe­cially those re­cov­er­ing from trauma or fac­ing the fu­ture af­ter a life-chang­ing or life­lim­it­ing di­ag­no­sis.”

For­mer ARI pa­tient, Paul Breen, was also in­tro­duced to the Queen dur­ing the visit.

He was hos­pi­talised for more than two years af­ter suf­fer­ing a brain aneurysm in 2010.

In June, he was awarded a Bri­tish Em­pire Medal for his on­go­ing char­i­ta­ble ef­forts, in­clud­ing rais­ing money for the roof gar­den project.

The for­mer train driver said: “She con­grat­u­lated me on the fundrais­ing for the gar­den and my part in that.

“I think it is won­der­ful, it’s bet­ter than I ex­pected it to be.”

The hos­pi­tal has re­ceived many vis­its from mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily in the past few years.

Most re­cently, the Queen opened the Emer­gency Care Cen­tre at ARI in 2013.

Stephen Lo­gan, NHS Grampian chair­man, said: “We are ab­so­lutely thrilled Her Majesty was able to come and for­mally open the Robert­son Fam­ily Roof Gar­den.

“The sup­port of Her Majesty and other mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily is an enor­mous priv­i­lege and is some­thing we are hugely grate­ful for.

“The gar­den was only pos­si­ble be­cause of the ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eros­ity of a host of peo­ple across the north-east as well as fur­ther afield.

“To­day’s open­ing is a tes­ta­ment to their sup­port.

“We are also in­debted to the huge num­ber of vol­un­teers who gave up their own time to help get us to this point.”

Pro­fes­sor Lo­gan added: “The hope is this gar­den will lead to ‘green space’ be­ing part of the fu­ture at Forester­hill and to the re­de­vel­op­ment of green spa­ces in other NHS Grampian sites.

“We are also in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of con­struct­ing a gar­den for staff at Forester­hill that will pro­vide a respite for them and a chance to get away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of daily business on this site.”

The Queen meets for­mer Scot­land foot­ball man­ager Craig Brown on a visit to Aberdeen Royal In­fir­mary

Pho­to­graphs by Jim Irvine

WEL­COME: The queen meets Ab­botswell Pri­mary School pupils on a visit to Sue Ry­der Dee View Court care cen­tre, Aberdeen.

The Queen with Lord Provost Barney Crock­ett

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