Double celebration as care home garden is opened

GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM - 13 May 2011: 'OPENING OF NEW SENSORY GARDEN AT CRAW WOOD CARE HOME'The Rt Hon Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, invited by the 'Friends of Craw Wood' to officially open their new sensory garden at Craw Wood, Eildon Housing Association's Care Home for the elderly suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.  The official opening also coincided with the 15th anniversary of Eildon opening the Care Home.'L-R Michael Moore with Eildon CEO Nile Istephan''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM - 13 May 2011: 'OPENING OF NEW SENSORY GARDEN AT CRAW WOOD CARE HOME'The Rt Hon Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, invited by the 'Friends of Craw Wood' to officially open their new sensory garden at Craw Wood, Eildon Housing Association's Care Home for the elderly suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. The official opening also coincided with the 15th anniversary of Eildon opening the Care Home.'L-R Michael Moore with Eildon CEO Nile Istephan''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)

THERE was a double celebration on Friday for all staff, residents and families associated with the Craw Wood care home, for dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, at Tweedbank.

Not only was the specialist facility, run by the Eildon Housing Association, celebrating its 15th birthday, but a special guest was in attendance to officially open a new sensory garden in the horseshoe-shaped courtyard.

Taking what was doubtless a welcome break from the white heat of politics, local MP and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore broke into a busy schedule to perform the ceremony.

“It is a truly wonderful, peaceful and picturesque facility, which I’m sure will bring endless enjoyment to all those who use it,” said Mr Moore this week.

“It has been brilliant to see the input of so many people in the creation of the new garden and it was great to meet residents and employees at the care home during the opening.”

Mr Moore commended the efforts of the Friends of Craw Wood, comprising staff and residents’ families, and he paid tribute to the late Christine Herkes who had helped found the group in 2009 and had, later that year, spearheaded the sensory garden project.

The gathering was told that Christine, whose husband David is a Craw Wood resident, and fellow friends had organised many fundraising events to turn what was basically an unused open space into a garden for residents to enjoy.

The injection of a grant from Awards for All Scotland had allowed the area to be landscaped and planted out with species designed to stimulate the senses and provide a relaxing atmosphere. New turf was laid, and a pergola created for residents to sit out and enjoy the sunshine.

During the work, professional gardeners and landscapers, supported by volunteer students from Borders College, helped turned Christine’s dream into a reality.

“Sadly, Christine passed away last summer, but the completion of the garden is a testimony to her aspirations,” said Eildon chief executive Nile Istephan.

He offered thanks to Friends of Craw Wood Keith Wight, Liz Egan, Morag Anderson, Becky Egan and Muriel Johnson for their hard work over the past two years and praised Grant Morrison from Grant Morrison Stonecraft and Nigel Gibb from Borders College for their efforts.

Guests on Friday also shared a birthday cake to mark the 15th anniversary of Craw Wood, which was built to replace the dementia ward at the former Dingleton Hospital.