A residential care home for people with complex special needs and disabilities has dedicated a new community garden to the memory of a late friend.

Birchwood, which is based in Chesham, paid tribute to 55-year-old Tina Sharp, who died in 2021 from a kidney condition after having cerebral palsy and dysphagia.

The care home opened in 2004 with Tina being one of the first individuals to be supported by the service.

Bucks Free Press: Guests arriving at the Birchwood gardenGuests arriving at the Birchwood garden

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Following her sad passing, her friends and family were keen to have a quiet space to remember her.

This led to a garden being created by the Friends of Birchwood volunteer group, who raised £1,600 and in addition to Tina’s memorial bench, supplied planting areas with water butts to all the people supported by the home, a gazebo, and a path which allows wheelchair access to the garden.

The friends have been actively trying to improve the outdoor space for people supported by Birchwood since 2017, to make it more accessible for those with mobility issues.

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John Godden MBE, CEO of Salutem Care and Education, which operates Birchwood, officially opened the garden at the service’s Jubilee garden party.


He said: “It was an honour to be invited to Birchwood to open the community garden.

“It has the perfect mix of visual natural beauty, opportunities to create and grow, and artwork honouring the creative spirit of the individuals we support.

“The volunteers have done a fantastic job to make it a sensory experience for all, as well as a place for quiet contemplation.

“It is perfect.”

Bucks Free Press: The grounds at BirchwoodThe grounds at Birchwood

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Anita Osborne, a volunteer with Friends of Birchwood, added: “There has always been a great deal of creative talent at Birchwood, and Tina was a beautiful artist, so I am delighted we’ve been able to honour her memory in such a fitting way.

The memorial bench is inscribed with a poem written for Tina:

She held her loved ones dear and fierce,

Shared joy and sadness with her whole being,

Danced her wheelchair just like a ballerina,

Loved ladybirds, yellow, holidays and art.

We miss you.