22 Nov 2013

Atlantic Odyssey sows seeds for therapeutic garden

Atlantic OdysseyEton Housemaster David Gregg will be swapping his gown for a lifejacket later this month as he sets sail across the Atlantic on a daring fundraising voyage.

Crewing on the ‘Alcedo of Ryme’, David will be accompanying four like-minded explorers as they set off from Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, bound for St Lucia in the Caribbean.

Clocking up some 2800 nautical miles, David will be fundraising in memory of Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple, and the charity set up in his honour, Horatio’s Garden.

“Everything he did, he did with such zeal and passion”

Keen adventurer, Horatio was also a volunteer at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre, Salisbury, in his school holidays. With ambitions to become a doctor he and his father, David Chapple – a spinal surgeon at Salisbury Hospital – came up with the idea for a garden. Horatio drew up a questionnaire to find out what patients wanted, with the findings paving the way to his idea of an accessible garden for patients frustrated at being stuck indoors.

Tragically, he did not see his plans come to fruition. At the age of 17, while on an Arctic expedition to Svalbard, he was killed by a polar bear. He acted with unfaltering courage and lost his life. Following Horatio’s death, donations flooded in for his garden to be created.

Creating a therapeutic sanctuary

The charity Horatio’s Garden was set up to build gardens of beauty for patients at spinal treatment centres. The garden itself was established in the grounds of the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre.

Visualised by award-winning garden designer, Cleve West, the garden balances creative use of space with harmonious planting. Plants have been chosen for their aesthetic and sensory qualities: grasses to catch the wind, herbs to smell and taste, and shrubs and trees for texture and winter structure.

The charity also organises a range of creative and therapeutic activities for patients to enjoy in the tranquil, picturesque surroundings.

As a trustee for the charity, David wanted to use the Atlantic expedition to raise funds to support the maintenance of the garden, and more importantly, promote the creation of similar gardens at other spinal centres in the UK.

He said: “I was very proud to become a trustee of the charity. Through simply incredible public generosity, the first ‘Horatio’s Garden’ has been established at Salisbury, where it is making a real difference to the quality of lives of seriously disabled patients.”

Sowing the seeds for the future

In addition to bringing Horatio’s Gardens to more spinal injury centres across the country, funding is also needed to train volunteers, who are vital to the running of the gardens.

Speaking about MyDonate’s free fundraising service, David said: “MyDonate was recommended to me by ‘Horatio’s Garden’. MyDonate takes less in fees, and has been easy to work with – I found setting up my fundraising page quite intuitive.”

The intrepid explorer also offered some advice for fundraisers seeking a boost to their donations.

He said: “Use the publicity where it can help, but remember that in this sort of situation the people who gave in the past are also likely to be the most willing givers in the future. Avoid donor fatigue! Find a reason to assist people in their giving, like doing something out of the ordinary.”

You can support David’s Atlantic venture on his fundraising page

Please visit the charity’s website for more information about Horatio’s Garden and their mission to bring the gardens to more spinal injury centres.





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