Milton Keynes charity wins RHS gold medal

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Milton Keynes charity World Vision UK has scooped a coveted RHS gold medal at the prestigious Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (HCPFS).

Its garden, which takes the unpredictability of life as its inspiration, scooped the top prize as the HCPFS opened its doors to the public. The installation, which features a meadow of 1,000 Oxeye daisies planted under and around waves of turf rising to six feet, impressed judges to ensure they awarded it the prestigious prize.

The garden’s creator and multiple-award-winning designer John Warland said: “We are ecstatic to have been recognized for our efforts with this prize. This garden tells some significant and pertinent messages about the state of the world and how we can all help improve the lives of the vulnerable.

“We now open the garden for the public and invite them to engage, share and celebrate the journey of child sponsorship with World Vision as they wander through the ribbons of life at the show,” he added.

When installing the garden, Warland expanded on an original concept shown at Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, to provide a 15 x 10 m installation that allows visitors to HCPFS to walk through – and under – spectacular ribbons of turf that have been molded over mild steel.

He chose the daisies that adorn the garden to represent the purity and innocence of children helped by World Vision. The waves of turf on the other hand, are inspired by the unpredictable ups and downs of life.

“When communities are hit by natural disasters or outbreaks of disease - such as the Ebola and Zika - children are often the most vulnerable. However and thankfully, organisations like World Vision are able to respond immediately and effectively to protect them.” Warland said.

Warland is the designer behind the Queen’s Coronation Arch at Windsor Castle and was particularly inspired by the charity’s work in Sierra Leone throughout the Ebola crisis.

He hopes that when visitors see the World Vision garden it might make them smile, and also contemplate the uncertainty of life.

Sierra Leone is one of the three countries that were affected by the worst Ebola outbreak in history last year. The outbreak produced over 27,600 infections across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, of which some 11,260 were fatal. World Vision has been supporting the Ebola response since the outbreak - providing safe and dignified burial work for Ebola victims, distributing food to quarantined families and psychological support for orphaned Ebola children.