Cassel Hospital staff, patients and friends welcomed HRH Princess Alexandra to the Cassel Hospital to open a new memorial garden as part of the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations on Thursday 5 July.
The new Sanctuary Garden is designed to provide a peaceful and healing place for staff, patients and visitors to enjoy. It is the work of local, award-winning garden designer Tom Massey and is dedicated to Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who died last year and was a leading supporter of the hospital for over 60 years. She was the great granddaughter of Sir Ernest Cassel, the founder of the hospital.
HRH Princess Alexandra met patients and staff during her visit and heard about the internationally-renowned work that the hospital does. West London Mental Health Trust’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Regan, planted a time capsule – containing messages from patients and staff – which will be dug up in 70 years’ time, in 2088.
Dr Oliver Dale, the clinical lead for the hospital, spoke about the Countess of Mountbatten’s long association with the Cassel, informed by her own experience of loss and trauma. He also described the unique way in which staff and patients work together to run the community. Former patient Melanie Ball read a poem about her experience as a patient at the Cassel.
Carolyn Regan said: “It’s fitting that we have marked the 70th birthday of our much loved NHS with a special celebration at the Cassel, which itself celebrates 70 years this year at its current site.
“I’m delighted that HRH Princess Alexandra was able to join us to open the garden. While at least one person in 20 is living with personality disorder, the Cassel is the only specialist residential NHS service in the UK for adults and young people with a diagnosis of severe personality disorder and complex trauma.
“The new garden is really stunning and mirrors what the Cassel hopes patients’ journey at the hospital will be, as they move from chaos to safety, to hope, and, ultimately, back into the community”