Help for a Hero

Alan Titch­marsh on mak­ing a dream gar­den for a for­mer Royal Marine who lost three limbs in ac­tion

TV Times - - In­ter­view - Sean Mar­land

NEW fac­tual Love Your Gar­den wednesday / ITV / 8.00Pm

Fa­ther-of-three Mark Orm­rod misses out on sim­ple things that other dads take for granted. Cur­rently in train­ing for this year’s In­vic­tus Games, on Christ­mas Eve 2007, Royal Marines Com­mando Mark sus­tained life-chang­ing in­juries af­ter trig­ger­ing an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice while on a rou­tine pa­trol in Afghanistan.

Thanks to the swift ac­tion of the men around him and rapid med­i­cal treat­ment, Mark be­came the UK’S first triple am­putee to sur­vive the Afghanistan con­flict .

This week, Alan Titch­marsh and his team are hop­ing to im­prove Mark’s life by giv­ing his back­yard a dream makeover as the ITV show, Love Your Gar­den, re­turns for a new nine-part se­ries. Here, Alan tells us more about what he’s do­ing for Mark, who lives in Ply­mouth with his wife Becky and three chil­dren Kezia, 12, Ma­son, five, and Eve­lyn, three…

Mark sounds like a guy who de­serves a new gar­den…

His brav­ery and strength of char­ac­ter in the face of ter­ri­ble cir­cum­stances is re­mark­able. His pros­thetic legs make walk­ing on un­even sur­faces very dif­fi­cult and he wants to be able to play with his chil­dren, so we want to cre­ate a very spe­cial gar­den for him. Mark does a lot of work with the char­ity Help for Heroes, so we de­cided we would try to help a hero.

What plans do you have for Mark’s gar­den?

I’m propos­ing a con­tem­po­rary de­sign with four zones. A spa area for Mark, a pa­tio din­ing space for en­ter­tain­ing friends and fam­ily, a lawn with a seat for mum and dad, and a kids’ zone with a play­house. Hope­fully, we can cre­ate a space where Mark and his fam­ily can make some mem­o­ries.

Why is this se­ries in par­tic­u­lar so close to your heart?

I love it be­cause we can make a real dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives. Their gar­dens have been in­ac­ces­si­ble or they’re too busy help­ing oth­ers to work on them. To open up their gar­den, when it’s been out of bounds be­fore, that’s a great de­light.

Do you ever worry you’ve taken on too big a chal­lenge? Ev­ery gar­den is like stand­ing at the foot of the north face of the Eiger and ask­ing, ‘How the hell do we get up there?’ Peo­ple say, ‘Oh you’ve done it for years, you know it’ll work!’ But there are is­sues ev­ery time. We’ve al­ways man­aged to get the work done so far, so fin­gers crossed!

Mark’s brav­ery and strength of char­ac­ter is re­mark­able

In­spired: alan with Mark and his wife, Becky

Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence:

alan titch­marsh

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