Princess Royal thanks NHS staff on hospital visits
By Rob Freeman | 22nd April 2021
The Princess Royal has visited three hospitals in Gloucestershire to thank staff for their hard work throughout the pandemic.
She officially opened a garden at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital which commemorates loved ones lost to Covid-19 before visiting neighbouring Wotton Lawn Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital, where she saw hundreds of wire dandelions dedicated to coronavirus victims.
The garden at GRH, which also marks the contribution of NHS staff and carers in the county over the last year, was designed by The Black Gardener, Danny Clarke.
Funded by the Commemorative Dandelion Appeal run by the Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity, it features a steel wire dandelion seedhead designed by Dursley artists Sadie Kitchen and Jackie Lantelli at the heart of the garden.
Chief registrar Dr Hina Iftikhar said: "It's incredibly important for families and friends of loved ones lost to Covid-19 have a space where they can visit and reflect.
"Many of my colleagues both here in our hospitals and in the community have had the most challenging of times. I'm grateful Her Royal Highness recognised this today."
Respiratory high care ward manager Alexandra Hayes said the Princess Royal expressed her gratitude for staff's work over the last year.
At Cheltenham, The Princess Royal laid a carved wooden dandelion which have become a symbol of the Every Name A Person vow by the NHS in Gloucestershire with one for each patient who died and a second sent to their family.
Hundreds of commemorative wire dandelions bearing a tribute to a victim of Covid-19 been placed in an open green space.
Nurse Nisma Mathew said: "The garden is tranquil yet inspiring at the same time.
"I hope this resonates with those families who've been through so much and my colleagues who've gave so much in the last year."
Atique Miah, Muslim chaplain at the hospitals, said: "So many people in our community have been affected by this pandemic. The effect will be felt in the months and years that follow.
"Yet there is hope and as we emerge from the last year I'm struck by the compassion, kindness and generosity shown by the community during a time of great personal tragedy and difficulty."
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