Norton House unveils Chelsea Flower Show Garden

Direct from Chelsea Flower Show to Norton House, Stanford Hall, Loughborough, the SSAFA Sanctuary Garden, designed by award winning local garden designer, Amanda Waring, is transplanted 120 miles to give pleasure to service people and their families and was officially opened by HM Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace.

When a military family gets the call to say their serving loved one is seriously injured or ill, the last thing they should worry about is where they will stay to be close to them during treatment and rehabilitation, or how they will pay for it. SSAFA provides free home-from-home accommodation at Norton House, near the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC).

Norton House was comfortable on the inside but lacked an accessible outside area for guests to relax and rejuvenate.

Luckily for SSAFA, Amanda Waring of Catfoot Designs, offered to design a garden for Norton House, which would first be entered into the Sanctuary Garden category at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show 2022. The garden needed to be accessible, tranquil, and portable! From the outset, Amanda knew that the garden was destined to be re-cycled and have genuine, practical use after it had been shown at Chelsea. Not only this, but the cost of the garden and transport for it afterwards needed to be sourced. CCLA Investments generously sponsored the garden at Chelsea and Amazon offered to transport the garden to Norton House free of charge once the show was over.

Amanda said:

“It is a huge privilege to design a garden for RHS Chelsea, and has been a long-held ambition of mine to do so.

From a scrubby piece of land to the side of the main house, to an enchanting area of natural beauty, the transformation has been astounding. Guests can easily smell and feel the plants in the raised beds, there is a large, covered outdoor area so fresh air is available to everyone, no matter what the weather. All areas are wheelchair accessible and there is enough room for all the resident families to play and enjoy themselves in the fresh air.

The garden was officially opened on Friday by HM Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace.

Group Captain Rowley said:

“The garden adds to the overall effectiveness of Norton House and we are lucky to have this fantastic facility.”

Frances McKim, neighbour to Norton House and Stanford Parish Council Chair said:

“The village is very supportive of Norton House and this garden is a wonderful addition. They are great neighbours.”

Neil Bettison from Nottinghamshire County Council said:

“There is excellent work happening at Norton House; it is an outstanding facility.”

Julian Panton (Army Central Fund) said:

“We are delighted to help fund such a necessary facility. Our funding comes from the soldiers themselves so we always make sure that it goes back to them in their times of need.”

Norton House costs around £200,000 annually to run. Without the generous support of individuals and organisations, it would not be possible to offer this important service.

If you are able to support SSAFA or would like further information visit


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