The relocated memorial garden opened for staff on Thursday 23 November 2023, in a ceremony led by Rachel Bennett, Lead Chaplain at Worthing Hospital.
Dr George Findlay, Chief Executive, attended the opening and thanked staff, including Tony Leggatt, Stuart Cox, Luc Harvengt, Rachel Bennett and Katrina Hawkes, for all their hard work in compassionately and sensitively moving the garden from its old location.
He said: “It gives me a huge sense of pride that colleagues have come together in this way to not only move the memorial garden into its new location, but also to honour and commemorate colleagues who have sadly died. It’s an important space, and one that I’m sure will be enjoyed and cherished by many.”
A range of roses, dedicated to colleagues who have died, were transferred to the new garden in September, along with several memorial benches.
At the ceremony, Stephen Mardlin, Worthing Hospital Director, planted a rose to commemorate colleague Bessy James, who was a Staff Nurse in Endoscopy, before passing away from cancer in September 2022.
Irene Munda, Sister, Endoscopy Unit Worthing, said: “Bessy was a lovely colleague to work with, and her smile was infectious. She inspired us with her unwavering faith, courage to face her illness and her love for her family. We really miss her.”
The new space is not only be bigger and brighter, but more private.
It has had a new swipe access door installed, which is for staff only and features a number of rose beds, a large hexagonal planter at the centre, where the blossoming wisteria remains, and there is additional seating.
Rachel Bennett, Lead Chaplain at Worthing Hospital, said: “The NHS is a family. When a member of our family dies, we grieve as families grieve.
“With every rose there is a story. Our memorial garden is a sacred place for staff to remember colleagues and to be thankful for their place in our family.
“Having taken note of all the plaques, it was important for us to get in touch with relatives to let them know what is happening, and to also update departments and leads so they can share the change in location with their teams.”
Stephen Mardlin, added: “As well as creating this new garden in a more secluded part of the hospital, it facilitates some fantastic improvements to our Urgent Treatment Centre to provide better care for our patients.”
The garden move allows building works to start on replacing the hospital’s UTC, which is currently undersized and disconnected from the Emergency and Radiology departments.
The new facility, which is estimated to cost £4.5m, will be within the Emergency Department to provide a more streamlined service for patients.