Military veterans win big at the Chelsea Flower Show
A team of Veterans and students have won a Gold Medal and Best Discovery Exhibit award at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The Force for Good garden was designed and created by military Veterans and horticulture students to tell the powerful story of the role horticulture plays in the recovery and ongoing support of injured British Armed Forces personnel, Veterans and their families.
Gill Parker, an RAF Veteran who lives with PTSD, has been working on the project. She began studying horticulture with Help for Heroes last year and was delighted to get involved in the collaboration between the military charity and Sparsholt College.‘Working on this project has been an amazing opportunity, not only have I seen the flowers bloom, I’ve seen myself bloom and my confidence has grown. To get a Gold Medal is incredible, and then to win Best Garden in Section is even better. All our hard work has paid off.’
Sparsholt Collegelecturer Chris Bird, adds: ‘It is always an honour to exhibit at RHS Chelsea and this year feels particularly meaningful given the show’s theme of health, well-being and happiness and the powerful story it has enabled us to tell in collaboration with our partner Help for Heroes. Not only have our students won another Gold Medal at the world’s most famous flower show, but they have had the privilege of working alongside military Veterans who have been inspiring, motivating and made an invaluable contribution to this year’s garden.’
The design of the garden was inspired from conversations between students and the Veterans. These personal experiences have been brought to life through the planting to illustrate the positive impact gardening activity can have on mental health and the role horticulture plays in ongoing support and recovery.
After RHS Chelsea 2018 the garden’s legacy will continue its good work, with elements being rehomed and donated to community groups, to help more people learn, grow and heal through gardening.
Find out more about the garden on the Help for Heroes website: https://helpforheroes.org.uk/see-the-difference/rhs-chelsea-flower-show-2018/
For more information about Help for Heroes, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk
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