Ken’s story

Ken is a keen gardener, and he helps keep our hospice grounds looking beautiful.

Ken has been an invaluable member of our team since he began volunteering in the hospice gardens at Heald Green over five years ago.

His wife was cared for at St Ann’s and Ken often comments that his work in the gardens enables him to give something back for the care he and his family received.

One particular focal point in the garden, which people are often amazed by, is the beautiful dahlia beds, featuring the biggest blooms we’ve ever seen. Ken cultivates the flowers from tubers in his own garden, planting them in the hospice when the time is right, then cutting them once blossomed so patients who can’t go outside can enjoy a piece of the gardens on the wards too.

Coordinating the team of regular garden volunteers, Ken makes sure all jobs are allocated and completed, and he also manages the many corporate teams who give up their time during the week to come and help out.

Ken visits the gardens almost every day, including weekends, to carry out duties such as watering and fertilising the plants, and cultivating the amazing hanging baskets. He isn’t afraid of the jobs others may be less keen to take on either, whether that’s weeding, sweeping the never-ending flow of pine needles from the trees which surround the hospice site, or scraping moss from between the flags.  His relentless hard work really does mean that our patients and their families have a truly beautiful outside space where they can sit and take time out.

I know from first-hand the importance of the gardens on the wellbeing of patients and their families, as I often sat outside with my wife during her time in St Ann’s. It’s a very special place for me.

Before he retired, Ken had allotments of his own and he has recently worked with other gardeners to make a fruit and vegetable patch so that our kitchen staff can create beautiful dishes from the delicious raspberries, strawberries, potatoes and runner beans that are grown on site. The patients really enjoy the home grown treats, and are impressed by just how locally sourced the ingredients are!

Ken also helps our patients by joining in with a variety of hospice fundraising activities, such as our Forget Me Not appeal or the Manchester Midnight Walk. He regularly cultivates bedding plants to sell in aid of St Ann’s too, and local people enjoy taking them home to enjoy in their own gardens whilst supporting their local hospice too. He was a finalist for Manchester City Council’s 2016 Be Proud Awards in the Blossoming Communities category in recognition of his gardening work with us.

Feeling inspired?

We need more volunteer gardeners at our hospice in Little Hulton. Whether you have a couple of hours a week to spare or a couple of days, every single bit of support makes a difference to our patients and their families.

Sign up now!