On Saturday 22nd June, an opening ceremony took place to celebrate the new Armed Forces Commemorative Garden at Southlands Hospital.

Led by Lieutenant Colonel Ben Caesar, Royal Army Medical Corps, Armed Forces Network Lead, University Hospitals Sussex, and Captain Stephen Mardlin MBE, Royal Navy (Rtd), Hospital Director for Worthing and Southlands, University Hospitals Sussex, the ceremony brought together colleagues from across the Trust’s Armed Forces Network to experience the newly developed garden and mark the start of Armed Forces Week. This included representatives from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, the NHS Armed Forces Network, the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association.  

The garden was designed by award-winning garden designer Juliet Sargeant, and co-funded by My University Hospitals Sussex, the Friends of Southlands Hospital and University Hospitals Sussex’s Armed Forces Network, and will provide a space for veterans, patients, staff and the local community to enjoy for years to come. 

“The opening of the Armed Forces Commemorative Garden marks the culmination of a huge effort which saw £55,000 raised by the Trust’s Armed Forces Network, the Southlands Hospital League of Friends and the My University Hospitals Sussex charity, to fund the design and layout of this garden. Through the design expertise of the award-winning Juliet Sargeant, we now have a garden that commemorates staff and patients that have served in the armed forces of the crown, whilst also providing a dedicated space for patients, staff and visitors to enjoy.” – Steve Crump OBE, Director of Charities and Voluntary Services. 

“It has been a delight to see what was a piece of wasteland on the corner of Southlands Hospital become a beautiful garden that is being very well used by our staff and patients. As a veteran, seeing this link between the Trust and our Armed Forces community is a special thing as was seen by the emotions in many of those at the opening.”

With an army bugler in attendance to sound the Last Post and Reveille, the opening was both moving and inspiring, giving all the chance to reflect upon the importance of Armed Forces Week whilst recognising the individuals who make up the Armed Forces community across University Hospitals Sussex and our charity.  

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