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Specialist contractor helps restores hospital garden.

Some 20 years after it helped prepare the ground for the new Darent Valley Hospital in its home county of Kent, specialist contractor the O'Keefe Group is back to go over old ground, literally.

Although the company was not involved in the original landscaping of two community gardens at the hospital's Pine Therapy Unit, it is helping to renovate one of them as part of its Community Foundations programme.

O'Keefe, which is based in Ightham, is cleaning the existing paving and re-laying it, moving raised planters to form a new central planting area using existing and new railway sleepers, and re-laying paving slabs to re-establish paths which had become raised by tree roots.

This had made the area inaccessible to patients at the chemotherapy suite in Dartford which has 16 treatment chairs for chemotherapy and supportive care, three day beds and a complementary therapy room.

Chris Handy, Macmillan lead chemotherapy nurse, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to O'Keefe Construction who have chosen our Pine Therapy Unit gardens as their community project for this year. Our cancer patients really enjoy sitting, relaxing or just taking a breath in the gardens. However, they were in desperate need of some tender loving care and thanks to the O'Keefe workmen's energy, hard work and dedication the gardens have been totally revitalised.

“They have all been busy relaying paving slabs and extending flower beds to ensure all the uneven ground, which was due to large protruding roots, has now been covered. The gardens are starting to look wonderful and will make such a difference to our cancer patients and their families.”

She added: “O'Keefe as a company has had families and friends receive a cancer diagnosis and this has made them even more passionate about helping us to achieve our goal. We pride ourselves in providing our patients with treatment that is given with the care and compassion we would to our own families and friends. A huge thank you from all the staff and patients on Pine Therapy Unit.”

O'Keefe deputy managing director Lee Horsley said: “As a business, O'Keefe have had so many of our team impacted by cancer so we were pleased to give a little back to our community when the opportunity arose to renovate the garden space. We hope it continues to provide a welcome space for those being treated within Pine Ward and to the staff who do a wonderful job of caring for patients.”


Left photo, from left: Chemotherapy support worker Jan Agyurek, O'Keefe ground worker Maurizio Bettinelli and Chris Handy.

Photo: www.centralphotography.com

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