A beautiful and peaceful new garden in memory of Sir William Benyon has officially opened at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy.
Supported by the Benyon family through the Englefield Charitable Trust, an old courtyard has been transformed into a peaceful haven which was opened in a ceremony with representatives from the family, the hospital and sculptor who crafted a stunning centre-piece for the garden.
The sanctuary was designed by Sir William Benyon’s daughter-in-law, Jennifer Benyon, who thoughtfully selected its plants to include wild strawberries, aromatic evergreens and perennials, many with medicinal uses, to ensure year-round vibrancy.
Raised wooden flowerbeds and floral evergreen archways have been installed in the 50 square metre garden, as well as a central water feature with a striking five-piece sculpture of a diving figure, created by Sophie Dickens, the great granddaughter of Charles Dickens.
Jennifer Benyon, said: “I wanted to create a space where people could get a cup of tea from the café, then sit outside unobserved, where they could have some seclusion, greenery and peacefulness; somewhere to have a quiet moment”.
The Englefield Charitable Trust funded the creation of the garden in partnership with the Royal Berks Charity in memory of Sir William Benyon of the Englefield Estate, who founded the Trust in 1968. Close family members were inspired to create the courtyard garden while visiting Sir William at the hospital before his death in May 2014.
Trust Chair, Graham Sims welcomed guests to the official opening event for the garden. Graham said: “This really is a tranquil oasis in a very busy hospital and we are incredibly grateful to the Benyons for their help and support. The old courtyard was in need of a complete renovation and members of the family worked together with the Royal Berks Charity to design and create the Englefield Garden to provide a relaxing and restorative sanctuary for patients, visitors and staff”.
Charity Director, Ian Thomson, added: “The garden’s renovation wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support from the Englefield Estate. It is a fitting tribute to Sir William. The old garden was in much need of love and attention and Jennifer and her team have made a huge difference. It will be an area used by many of our patients and visitors, as well as for staff who will welcome a place to go to relax during breaks.”
Header photograph shows: Members of the Benyon family, with Richard Benyon MP (left) gather for the official opening of a new garden at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, designed and built in memory of the late Sir William Benyon for the enjoyment of patients and relatives.