The former Mayor of Chesterfield, Councillor Maureen Davenport (above, right), has presented the Chesterfield Royal Hospital with a cheque to help fund the Retreat@theRoyal garden.

Maureen spent the year raising a magnificent £20,000 for the garden with Mayoress Liz Archer after hearing about the project to convert one of the hospital’s courtyard spaces into a relaxing retreat for patients, staff and visitors to take themselves away from the more clinical environment.

By the time they started their fundraising campaign in 2017, the NGS Macmillan Unit had already opened but they wanted to raise money for something at the hospital relating to cancer care after both of them shared the painful experience of losing their husbands to the disease.

Maureen said: “When I became Mayor of Chesterfield it coincided with the unit opening and the end of the major fundraising appeal that accompanied it. We both wanted to do something that would complement what the Macmillan appeal and the Trust had achieved which was when we spoke to Dr Roger Start who had been heavily involved in the design and build of the unit.

“He mentioned that he wanted to do something with some of the courtyard space not far from the unit that people could use as a form of therapy, to get away from it all. He gave us an idea of what it might cost to provide plants, help with the design and generally make it happen which was when the Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s Charitable Funds agreed to match whatever we raised.

“I was bowled over by the enthusiasm of Roger and his colleagues who have been very keen to emphasise the importance of environment and outside space in cancer care and recovery. You can see it in the design of the building with those stunning panoramic views of the Derbyshire hills and also with the £1.5million from the National Garden Scheme that gave the unit its name.

“The work has started to happen and we’ve seen the design of the garden which looks tremendous. We’re delighted that our efforts, and those who contributed to our Mayoral Appeal, will go towards something so unique and beneficial to patients. We’re delighted and proud to present this cheque to the team and very much looking forward to seeing the garden fully realised.”

The retreat is being designed by Garden Designer Lara Behr who has already lent her creative abilities to the Garden of Remembrance that can be found outside the front of the Unit. Her design has already been featured in Gardens Illustrated magazine. Work has begun and the retreat is set to be unveiled later this year with planting starting in April.