The ambitious target of 100 laps took Simon Bailey, who lives at Sanctuary Retirement Living’s Lawley Bank Court, five days to complete. He was inspired to take part in the challenge to fundraise for a blossom tree and Covid memorial in the retirement service’s garden after hearing about the National Trust’s Blossom Watch project.
The Blossom Watch project aims to create beautiful green spaces in and near urban areas, to encourage people to connect with nature. The project also specifically aims to create green spaces to be used for hope and reflection, as the UK looks forward to life post-Covid, with the hope of improving people’s physical and mental wellbeing – both of which have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
As well as purchasing a new blossom tree, Simon’s grand total of £734 also covered the cost of a memorial plaque to go alongside it, lots of flowering plants and greenery for the garden, and two benches for all the Lawley Bank Court residents to enjoy.
Simon’s project became a reality thanks to the generous support of both the community and other residents at the service. Staff at Grange Farm garden centre donated a hanging basket and funeral directors CJ Williams provided a memory box, which residents filled with mementos from the past year of life during the pandemic, including newspaper cuttings and photos.
Simon said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to buy the blossom tree and create a special place in the garden where people can go to reflect and remember. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated money and supported me. It means a lot.”
Kirsty Lees, wellbeing and inclusion assistant, said: “The local community and the residents at Lawley Bank Court have all been so supportive of Simon and his sponsored challenge. The garden is looking lovely and it’s nice to think that the blossom tree and the memory box will be here for future generations to enjoy, and also to remember life during Covid."