An apple tree has been planted to honour those affected by COVID-19 with the ceremony being attended by Greg Wain, 62, who was admitted to the hospital on 15 April and was discharged in late July following months of rehabilitation initially in critical care, then Portland Ward, to regain lost mobility and muscle mass.
Greg, who has had a 42-year career in the NHS, said, “I used calming images and memories from my childhood to soothe myself, and did a lot of praying, and that brought real comfort.”
The ‘Lord Lambourne’ dessert apple tree was planted in at a special reception on 9 September, with Greg being joined at the event by the Mayor of Poole, Cllr Marion Le Poidevin, who dedicated the tree. Also present were local faith leaders including The Rt Rev Karen Gorman, Bishop of Sherborne, and Rabbi Maurice Michaels, of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue, together with hospital staff.
The idea came from the Rev Declan McConville, the hospital’s lead chaplain, who wanted to create a ‘living memorial’ on the hospital site to represent the strength, resilience and the commitment of family, friends and the hospital’s staff during the pandemic.
Greg said, “It’s been quite a journey to say the least but I’m profoundly thankful for the support, the love and professional expertise that has been shown by those who cared for me.
“Without their benevolent humour and ‘tough love’ I wouldn’t be able to stand here today.
“We should never forget all of my NHS colleagues who have selflessly dedicated their lives to care for others and regrettably were not as lucky as myself in surviving the ravages of this appalling illness.”
Debbie Fleming, joint chief executive, added, “It’s really important to be able to come together and we hope this tree will give staff an important place for reflection for many years to come.”
The tree is situated alongside other memorial trees in a small garden on the hospital site.
As part of the event attendees had the opportunity to lay pebbles, painted by children from hospital’s paediatric unit in rainbow colours, at the base of the tree.
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