HRH Princess Alexandra gives Kingston care home's garden the Royal seal of approval

By Eli Haidari

28th Nov 2022 | Local News

HRH Princess Alexandra (centre) in the revamped Royal Star & Garter garden in Surbiton with the charity’s (l-r) Director of Care Pauline Shaw, Chair Major General Tim Tyler, The Reverend Martin Hislop, Representative Deputy Lieutenant of Kingston upon Thames and Royal Star & Garter Chief Executive Andy Cole (credit: Royal Star & Garter).
HRH Princess Alexandra (centre) in the revamped Royal Star & Garter garden in Surbiton with the charity’s (l-r) Director of Care Pauline Shaw, Chair Major General Tim Tyler, The Reverend Martin Hislop, Representative Deputy Lieutenant of Kingston upon Thames and Royal Star & Garter Chief Executive Andy Cole (credit: Royal Star & Garter).

Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra visited a Kingston care home earlier this month to officially open its revamped garden.

Princess Alexandra visited Royal Star & Gar in Surbiton on 9 November, which provides care to veterans and their partners living with dementia.

The Princess was welcomed by The Reverend Martin Hislop, the Representative Deputy Lieutenant of Kingston upon Thames, and then introduced to Royal Star & Garter Chair Major General Tim Tyler, Chief Executive Andy Cole, and Director of Care Pauline Shaw. She then met the Home's Care Manager Yasmin Rogers, before spending time chatting with the many residents gathered in the dining and café-bar areas. 

Her Royal Highness was then taken out into the spruced-up garden and new garden room, where she cut a ribbon for its official opening, and viewed a commemorative plaque. She then received a posy of flowers from 100-year-old resident Phyllis Hales, who served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during WWII. 

Royal Star & Garter resident and WWII Wren Connie, greeting the Princess during the visit (credit: Royal Star & Garter).

Also present were representatives from ABF The Soldiers' Charity, which helped support the garden renovation with a generous grant. The Monday Charitable Trust and B&Q Foundation also provided grants for the project. 

The upgraded garden includes new features and has been landscaped to make it more accessible for residents. Improvements have been made to the planting areas and raised beds to engage veterans in gardening activities, and an outdoor dining and visiting area has been created. 

The spruced-up garden area at Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton (credit: Royal Star & Garter).

The improved garden provides a wellbeing boost for veterans at Royal Star & Garter. Research shows spending time in green space or bringing nature into everyday life can benefit both mental and physical wellbeing. These include increased confidence and self-esteem and a reduction in feelings of stress. 

(credit: Royal Star & Garter)

Army veteran Ken, who lives at the Home, said: "I use the garden every day, it's good for my wellbeing. I enjoy the fresh air, the peacefulness and the quiet. It looks beautiful now, and it's nice to watch the wildlife. We're very lucky to have it."

Director of Care, Pauline Shaw added: "It was a delight to welcome Princess Alexandra to our Surbiton Home and show her our beautiful garden. Residents and staff enjoyed talking to her about the impact the garden has had at the Home, and she appreciated the importance of spending time outside for good mental health and wellbeing."

Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton is welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Home, go to www.starandgarter.org/surbiton.

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