I first started doing volunteer photography for the Hospice of St Francis about 5 years ago when I was introduced to them via networking lunches hosted by Women in Business. At that point I’d had no personal involvement with the Hospice but was so taken by the peace and tranquillity of the place, the beautiful gardens, the immensely kind, friendly staff, the activities on offer and the incredible food (which I very much looked forward to at the networking lunches!) to name but a few things.
I’ve photographed many of their amazing events and done a great deal of marketing photography and staff portraits, but by far my most favourite assignment was being let loose in their beautiful gardens one hot summer’s day in July. Full credit to the volunteer gardeners, their work is just breath taking.
I started outside one of the rooms where there was the most spectacular bloom of roses in the little courtyards, just stunning. My Dad used to grow roses back home in South Africa so I have a huge appreciation for them. Every few days he’d pick fresh roses for my Mum’s bedroom and, as I worked away, I couldn’t help thinking just how much she’d have loved this had she been with us today. From there, I had views onto the lawn and the modern glass water feature so couldn’t resist a bit of creative photography to highlight the beauty of the free running water on a hot day amidst the green grass and colourful flowers.
The wildflower meadow was next, with its sweet little daisies, beautiful cornflowers and the odd burst of colourful red poppies, all a buzz with big fat bees, just wonderful!
Then past the little veggie patch to the woodland trail which someone has put a lot of thought and creativity into. At this point I just had to down tools, sit and stay awhile, just taking in the smell of the wood, the bird noises and the cool air – a peaceful place like no other.
After the wood I emerged to another section of the Hospice where each room has access to the beautiful gardens and if patients are unable to walk, the nurses simply wheel their beds outside so they can enjoy the feel of all that beauty.
And lastly, the memory garden with its beautiful cosmos, long grasses and benches where you can sit and reflect.
The gardens certainly satisfied my creative side but also gave me such huge appreciation for my own good health and even greater admiration for all those who run the Hospice, just incredible! Lastly I must give a big shout out to the fundraising team who are not only a complete joy to work with but without their efforts, the Hospice simply could not function. Over 80% of the money needed to run the Hospice comes from fundraising so it is a huge part of their operation and one that our society is so blessed to have on our doorstep. I for one, feel very honoured to support them through my photography.