On a whistle stop tour of South Wales, Eve Conway, president of Rotary International for Britain and Ireland 2016/17 visited the Macmillan Unit garden at Prince Charles Hospital on July 29th. She was accompanied by Steve Jenkins, Rotary District Governor for South Wales.
On walking around the garden, Eve said: “This garden represents the heart of what Rotary does – making a difference to our communities, helping people and making a difference in the world.
“It is important that the local Rotarians are able to add to something that helps patients and their relatives.”
Members of the Merthyr Tydfil Rotary Club have been maintaining the garden since 2013. Every week a small gang of avid gardeners arrive at the site to mow lawns, tend to flower beds and trim hedges.
The garden, which is used by cancer patients and carers, has been transformed by the Rotarians into a tranquil haven of life and colour.
During her visit, Eve planted a ‘MacMillan Nurse’ rose bush which was paid for by an anonymous member of the public.
Eve carried with her a bear wearing a purple jumper which symbolises the Rotary Club’s commitment to Purple4Polio and its fight to eradicate polio across the world. The amount of polio-endemic countries has dropped from 125 in 1985 to just two, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with over 2.5 billion children receiving vaccinations thanks to the help of Rotary.
The campaign ties in with the 100 year anniversary of The Rotary Foundation, which has played a key role in making polio eradication become close to reality.
When the maintenance of the garden was taken over in 2013, a diamond of purple crocuses was planted to support the campaign. The colour represents the purple dye used to mark the finger of a child who has been immunised.
Rotarians Keith Jones, 69 and Tony Wade, 71, who regularly tend the garden said: “We think the garden is absolutely stunning.
“We get good feedback from patients and their families who sit out here.”
The Rotary Club continue to receive a lot of support from local businesses with materials and equipment and patients have provided gardening vouchers. Lawnmowers and strimmers have also been provided by family members.
A bench has been donated by the Rotary Club and the well-cared garden is now in full bloom and enjoyed by patients, carers and staff at the unit.
Cathy Barker, Macmillan clinical lead/manager at the unit said: “I would like to thank the Merthyr Rotary Club who has maintained our garden to a very high standard over the last few years.
“It gives our patients a lovely relaxing view to look out on during their chemotherapy treatment.”