PRESS readers have helped the dream of creating a £50,000 hospice garden become a reality this week!

Volunteers in the Queen Margaret Hospice Garden Group (QMHGG) came together in a bid to brighten the final days of West Fifers nearing the end of their lives.

The group had already raised £32,500 but appealed for help from Press readers in May so they could reach their final target of £50,000. 

You didn’t disappoint and, just five months later, an area at the Queen Margaret Hospital has been transformed into an oasis to enhance the lives of terminally-ill West Fifers and their families to enjoy their last precious time together. 

The garden will open officially today (Friday). 

It was following a personal bereavement that Dalgety Bay resident Anne Morton dreamed up the idea in the summer of 2017. 

She told the Press: “On Friday, we are celebrating the opening of the completed Hospice Garden, but we are also celebrating that we managed to raise £50,000 within one year!

“This has been a joint NHS/community group effort, but it is really about celebrating all the marvellous work of the hospice staff at Queen Margaret Hospice. 

“This is the opportunity for folks to show how much they have appreciated and benefitted from the untiring care and support patients and their families receive.

“For me, this was one way of showing my appreciation by helping enhance the hospice environment with a safe outdoors area for patients and their visitors to use.”

The design of the garden at Queen Margaret Hospital allows patients to enjoy the space in beds or wheelchairs. 

It was recognised that people in communities across West Fife from Kincardine to Cowdenbeath receive amazing care from the hospice ward but can feel isolated from the outside world.

The state-of-the-art garden, built and designed by ‘The Landscape Brothers’, will provide access so family and friends could enjoy their precious time together in a peaceful garden surrounded by nature. 

The QMHGG has seen many volunteers join the team during the year whose compassion has helped grow this heart-warming project. 

Anne continued: “Our commitment and focus enabled the NHS team to trust us very quickly in agreeing to give us the garden area in the middle of the hospital and the hospice ward endowment fund provided a substantial donation to kick our fundraising off.

“Suddenly, here we are today. We have so many to thank; individuals, groups, local companies, our local press and trust funds who helped us get here. 
“The community group will continue to maintain the garden year-in and year-out, but it truly belongs to the hospice ward and any patients and families who can enjoy this beautiful outdoor and private space.”

Over the last few days, compassionate volunteers have been busy planting raised beds ready for the opening and the group is also working with a local stonemason to provide a stone-carved central feature which they hope will be installed by the end of November.

Neale Hanvey, a member of the QMHGG, added: “There has been wide-ranging support from the West Fife Common Good Fund, three trusts, fundraisers by various groups, individual donations and funeral collections. 

“We’ve had free or cut-price plants, garden furniture and tools from three different gardening suppliers. 

“There’s been growing input from members of the community – so no standout person or group, more a Fife team effort – and of course the Dunfermline Press!”