STAR of the Harry Potter, Star Wars films Warwick Davis visited Doddington Hall on Friday to officially launch St Barnabas Hospice’s beautiful collection of handcrafted dragonflies in the gardens this month.
Designed by Doddington Hall’s head gardener, Jordan Wallhead, more than 1,000 dragonflies are on display on the Croquet Lawn, through the peaceful walled gardens. Each of these dragonflies has been dedicated by a St Barnabas supporter in memory of a loved one. Supporters will be able to place these dragonflies in their own gardens once the display has finished.
Warwick, who has been a patron of the hospice since 2017 said:
“I get a lot of requests from different charities to become patron, but St Barnabas really stood out to me. I’ve visited one of their hospices here in Lincolnshire and the work they do is brilliant.
“There’s a misunderstanding that hospices such as St Barnabas are funded, but the reality is that they have to raise their own funds to survive. End of life care should really exist as part of the health service, but sadly it doesn’t so I’m pleased to be able to help causes like this.
“The dragonfly display at Doddington Hall is beautiful and the importance really comes home when you realise that each one represents a loved one that’s no longer with us. It’s also amazing that each one is helping the hospice with funding.”
Teams at St Barnabas Hospice, Doddington Hall and Lincoln College worked in installing the dragonflies to bring the display to life. Members of the public will be able to visit the display from Saturday 12th to Friday 25th September, 10am to 4pm.
Visitors will be able to spend a quiet moment reflecting in the peaceful surroundings, follow an interactive lily pad story trail around the display, get support from members of the St Barnabas Wellbeing team and learn more about the significance of the dragonflies. There will also be an opportunity for children to take part in craft sessions on certain days.
The safety of visitors to the display is paramount, meaning members of the public can only visit if they have made a booking on the Doddington Hall website. The display is included in general garden admission of £7.50 for adults, £3.50 for children and £19 for a family. Supporters who have dedicated a dragonfly in memory of a loved one can get in free with a guest but will still need to book a day to visit online.
Sam Waterer, Individual Giving Fundraiser at St Barnabas Hospice said:
“I want to thank Doddington Hall for being so amazing to work with on this project. This is our first event since the coronavirus pandemic began and we can’t wait to welcome our supporters back and give them a truly unique experience.
“As well as being able to visit the display during the day, we are also running several Twilight Tours as the sun sets over the gardens. A special thanks must go to Howell Thomas and the team at Lincoln College for helping us bring the display to life at this magical time of day.”
Twilight Tours will take place on Wednesday 16th, Friday 18th and Friday 25th September. The dragonflies will be lit beautifully as a St Barnabas tour guide takes supporters through a short walk of the gardens. Attendees will learn the significance of the dragonfly to the Hospice and why it was chosen for this year’s display. The tour will conclude at the Croquet Lawn so supporters can enjoy the full display and take a moment to remember loved ones. Bereavement counsellors will be on hand for those in need of support and live music will play.
The tours cost just £10 per adult and £5 per child and places must be booked on the St Barnabas website in advance to ensure the event remains compliant with current government guidelines. Visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk/events to book onto a tour.
Claire Birch, who runs the Doddington Hall estate alongside her husband James, said:
“If I were to dedicate a dragonfly to somebody it would be for my mother. I know the Hospice was very helpful when she was dying back in 2006 and she fought and worked so incredibly hard for Doddington all her adult life. It will be very apt for me to be remembering her here. She left the place in an amazing state for us and her legacy was extraordinary.”
To date, more than £80,000 has been raised for St Barnabas Hospice from people dedicating a dragonfly in memory of a loved one. This is open to anyone, not just those whose loved one has experienced hospice care. To view more information and dedicate a dragonfly, visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk/dragonfly