A MEMORIAL garden designed to allow families to remember their loved ones will soon open at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Englefield Estate gardeners have been putting the finishing touches to the hospital garden, which has been created as a tribute to Sir William Benyon to mark the 50th anniversary of the Englefield Charitable Trust.

The sanctuary has been designed by his daughter-in-law, Jennifer Benyon, who came up with the idea while visiting Sir William at the hospital before he died in May 2014.

She said: “I wanted to create a space where people could get a cup of tea from the café, then sit outside unobserved, where they could have some seclusion, greenery and peacefulness; somewhere to have a quiet moment.

“Englefield Estate head gardener Sue Broughton and I wandered around the house garden discussing which flowers would do well at the hospital.

"Sue then set about digging up some of the species for the team to plant, so it is nice to know we have been able to provide the very flowers Sir William once enjoyed, for others to enjoy.”

Jennifer carefully selected a mixture of plants and work started on the project in June 2018.

It is hoped that the garden will provide a therapeutic environment for patients and staff and contribute to their overall wellbeing.

Ian Thomson, director of the Royal Berks Charity, said the garden’s renovation was a fitting tribute to Sir William.

He added: “The Benyon family has played a significant role in supporting the hospital since it opened in 1839.

“When the original idea for renovating the garden was proposed by the family, the Royal Berks Charity and the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust wholeheartedly agreed to support the project.

"The garden refurbishment would not have taken place without the amazing support given by the Benyon family, and we are extremely grateful.

“The old garden was in much need of love and attention and Jennifer and her team have made a huge difference.

"It will be an area of tranquillity and calm for many who are undergoing treatment in the hospital and a beautiful place for staff to relax during breaks.”