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Hooray it's Launch Day!

posted 18 Jul 2016, 13:42 by Beechwood Huddersfield   [ updated 18 Jul 2016, 13:47 ]
On Friday 15th July, the Queen's representative in the region, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, helped us celebrate Beechwood's 50th birthday and officially open the refurbished garden. 

Launch Day
Children of Dalton Junior School with (L-R) Jason McCartney MP, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and the Mayor and Mayoress of Kirklees Council

It was a truly special event with thanks given to the hundreds of staff, volunteers and supporters who’ve helped to improve the lives of those with profound disabilities over five decades. 

“Her Majesty the Queen has been patron of Leonard Cheshire Disability for over 30 years”, said Patrick Feane, Service Manager of Beechwood, “so we’re absolutely delighted to have Dr Roscoe, the Queen’s representative in West Yorkshire, join us on our special day”.

Other dignitaries in attendance were Kirklees Mayor, Cllr Jim Dodds BEM, and local MP Jason McCarthy. 

A very special guest was Beechwood’s first matron, Mary McHugh. Now in her 90’s, Mary recently visited her former workplace and shared her tale of once demanding to know the name of male visitor, “I’m Mr Cheshire”, said Leonard Cheshire, the charity’s founder and highly decorated World War II bomber pilot.

The event formed a double celebration as Dr Roscoe officially reopened Beechwood’s Wildlife Garden, after 2 years of fundraising and refurbishment.  It all took place to the beat of a Samba Band, and singing from the children of Dalton Junior School Choir.

The Wildlife Garden Project entitled Making Beechwood Blossom has seen Beechwood's once neglected 19th century garden transformed into an accessible space for residents to relax and party in. 

Volunteers
Some of the amazing volunteers 
who helped make Beechwood Blossom
The project has been an inspirational example of a partnership between residents, staff, volunteers, local businesses and contractors. Much of the construction work on site was done by the national charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), who traveled each day from their Hollybush Conservation Centre in Leeds.

Beechwood’s Volunteer Co-ordinator Gemma McCorkindale highlighted the support of local engineering company Cummins Turbo Technologies, “Cummins have really taken us under their wing and provided incredible in-kind support to get the garden finished”, said Gemma, “their staff have worked wonders and even provided lighting and a sound system for the garden’s stone gazebo”. 

The project received a huge boost when staff from Howden’s Joinery Company ran the Great North Run, raising over £7,500. “This contribution could not have come at a better time, and enabled us to pay for the special surfacing of paths to support residents’ powered wheelchairs”, explained Gemma.

“It’s been a hugely rewarding project to be involved with”, said Simon Robinson, Chair of the Making Beechwood Blossom project, “the whole team really pulled together to get the garden finished. Most importantly today, we’re able to give residents back their garden”.

Keen gardener and Beechwood Resident Dot Goodall summed up the meaning of having a newly accessible wildlife garden, “I can image summer nights sat out there with a glass of wine”, said Dot, “Just because we’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean we can’t sneak off and have a glass of wine in the garden occasionally”.