Lasting legacy at Belhaven Hospital

Susan Guy with the plans for Belhaven Community Garden Project at Belhaven Hospital.
Susan Guy with the plans for Belhaven Community Garden Project at Belhaven Hospital.

A Dunbar woman is helping to create gardens at Belhaven Hospital as a lasting legacy for the care shown to everyone who has benefited from the facility.

Sue Guy wants to provide an area which patients and their families can enjoy after visiting her dear friend Trish Reeves, a mum-of-two, who spent her last days at the Dunbar hospital after a battle against cancer.

Sue, a project co-ordinator with the Sustaining Dunbar group, was full of praise for facility and its staff and, like others who have joined the NHS Belhaven Community Garden Project, wanted to give something back.

She explained: “The hospital and its staff are absolutely brilliant - that is really my passion for getting involved in the project. Belhaven Hospital gives so much to the community and is the only hospital in the area. We have all been touched in some way by the hospital.

“It is an amazing resource - it would be tragic if we lost it. Trish spent her last days there and if she had been at a hospital in Edinburgh it would have been difficult for people to see her.”

Sue felt that the only place she could take Trish outside in her wheelchair was the car park.

She explained: “Families can spend hours and days at hospitals, so we want to provide a place where they can walk to get away from the intensity of the experience they are having.”

Sue, who is convener of the project’s working group, said it was hoped to secure funding to construct wheelchair accessible pathways through the gardens, the first phase of which would be a sensory garden with plants and flowers which appealed to the senses of smell and touch including lavender, honeysuckle, roses and herbs. Next on the agenda will be a vegetable garden which will include raised beds so patients can plant and harvest vegetables and soft fruit which could be used in the hospital.

The third phase will be an orchard with plum, apple and pear trees which will be formed on land which is also used as a safety route to school by children from the Belhaven area.

Sue explained that the gardens were being developed with input from patients and residents at the hospital, staff and the NHS which was keen to see the land used in this way.

Enthusiasts included local teachers, nurses, a librarian and keen gardeners from the town.