Big thank you from

Green fingered locals triumph at Garden Festival

The Snowden family from Dunmurry supporting organ donation.

The Snowden family from Dunmurry supporting organ donation.

Beth Murtagh from Lisburn, aged 10, ties a butterfly on the tree to support organ donation. Her father Jim, signed the organ donor register.

Beth Murtagh from Lisburn, aged 10, ties a butterfly on the tree to support organ donation. Her father Jim, signed the organ donor register.

THERE Was great celebration last Friday at the Hillsborough Garden Festival when a garden created by several green fingered locals to promote organ donation was awarded Silver for their design entitled 'Causeway to New Life.' William Johnson, himself a dialysis patient for 14 years who is in need of a kidney transplant, was the main organiser of the Transplant Forum' garden, together with people from all the transplant charities in Northern Ireland. Having previously attended the festival, William saw the potential for promoting organ donation.

Amongst those involved in the project was Lisburn woman Susan Kee, the mother of a kidney recipient.

Susan, who helped to design the garden which shows the journey for a transplant patient from darkness to light when they have received their transplant, knows only too well the importance of organ donation, since her daughter Hannah received a kidney from her father, after the teenager was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Failure.

Susan, who owns Keys Homecare and Garden Centre in Antrim Street donated all the plants for the garden. She was delighted when she was asked to help. Susan said: "The brief was simple,
create a garden resembling new life. When someone needs a transplant they live in a world of darkness not knowing if they will ever be able to live a normal life or indeed survive. Time stands still. Their renewed life depends on the generosity of a donor. What better gift can you ever give and more importantly it will be the best gift you can ever get.

The concept of the garden was to pick an iconic feature of NI and design a 3m x 3m garden around that. Explaining the 'Transplant Forum' garden, Susan said: "The beginning of the garden has no colour, representing life for someone who needs a transplant. It is debris gathered from the shoreline.

'The causeway stones line the sides to take you down the journey of waiting for the transplant. Then at the far end of the garden after you receive a transplant life begins again and there is a burst of colour in the garden resembling renewed life.

The heart hanging at eye level resembles the symbol of organ donation. Of course all this cannot happen without the generosity of donors, so the tree resembles new life where donor families and people signing the donor register could write messages on butterflies and hang them from the 'tree of life.'"

Susan added: "I started Keys Garden Centre after my daughter received her transplant. I had previously attended Greenmount Agricultural College and needed to work with something that would give me hope. The plants were therapy for me and I delight in having something in colour all year round.

"When the garden won silver at the festival I was absolutely delighted. However, I was overawed with all the support and numbers of people signing the organ donor register and would like to say a big thank you to you all.

"We would like to thank the many people who signed the organ donor register and all the support we got."

To Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives, call 0300 123 2323 or visit

Ulster Star