Two dedicated volunteers were left heartbroken when a fountain used in tribute to those with dementia was destroyed by vandals.
Matt Muircroft and Bill Bulloch tend to Motherwell’s ‘Living well with Dementia garden’ to say thank you to NHS Lanarkshire’s memory service nursing staff, for the care given to their late wives Julie and Isobell.
The garden, found at the back of the Airbles Road Centre, provides a safe stimulating environment for those living with dementia and their carers.
The nursing team provided the inspiration and design for the garden and sourced funding to see it completed.
Matt said: “Julie and I were born 40 minutes apart at the same hospital, so we shared the same birthday. On our birthday and our anniversary, I would go to the garden and attach yellow balloons to the fountain.
“When I would leave for the day, I would let the balloons go and watch them as they would float up to the sky and out of sight.
“One Saturday afternoon, my daughter brought me down so we could put some more water in the fountain. She said she would go and do it if I could sit in the car with the baby.
“She came back crying and told me that the water feature had been vandalised.”
Thanks to a donation from Gouldings Garden Centre, an identical fountain was erected, in time for Dementia Awareness Week.
Matt said: “We felt responsible for that fountain, so went to Gouldings to see if we could buy a new one.
“We saw an identical one to the one that had been vandalised and the manager from the garden centre said that he would like to donate it to the garden.”
Bill added: “I would like to thank the garden centre for their generosity. We had been fundraising to replace the fountain; however we will now donate the money towards something additional for the garden.
“Helping the staff out with the garden is a very personal project for us, we consider it as being payback for the help that our wives were given.”
Nhs Lanarkshire community nurse Hazel Boyle hailed Matt and Bill for their work in the garden.
She said: “Around three years ago, the community nursing team established the dementia friendly garden in Motherwell.
“Visitors to the garden are provided with a relaxing environment that includes planting to stimulate sight, sound and smell, a sundial, raised planters to allow wheelchair users to touch the plants, seating and a bird feeder.
“A metal globe which highlights the millions of people around the world affected by dementia is the centrepiece of the garden.
“The garden is now a valuable resource used by all sectors of the community.
“After the garden was created, Matt and Bill were quick to offer their help by painting the wood around the raised beds that we had built.
“The garden has become a personal project for them and they visit two or three times a week to sweep up, feed the birds and help to keep it tidy for visitors.”