Moving trubute: Father helps design a garden used by his horrifically injured son

A lecturer who helped create a therapy garden for a rehabilitation centre used by his horrifically injured paratrooper son is to win a royal salute.

Oatridge lecturer Thomas Meenagh teamed up with students to design the therapy garden at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey. It form’s part of the centre’s new Jubilee Rehabilitation Complex.

"Thomas got involved with the work of Headley Court when he spent three days there last year, demonstrating gardening techniques to seriously injured service personnel and their occupational therapists," said a college spokeswoman.

"He had been ‘volunteered’ by his son Scott, a patient there, who lost both legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan.

"During discussions with staff, Thomas learned of plans to develop an activity garden to help patients improve their mobility skills and saw the possibility of involving his own Oatridge students."

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are to give the royal seal of approval on a visit to the rehabilitation centre on 19 September where they will meet Meenagh, who is based at Oatridge in West Lothian.

Horticulture students Julie Muir and Marie Evans designed the planting, said Meenagh, adding: "The students said it was at times a humbling experience and were happy to volunteer. They gained a lot of valuable hands-on knowledge."

Gardening was increasingly important in helping injured service personnel at Headley Court, providing physical, neurological, cognitive and psychological rehabilitation, he said.

Thomas Meenagh said: "I am very proud to be involved in the rehabilitation garden project as Headley Court has helped my son and his colleagues to recover from the injuries they sustained in Afghanistan. It is an incredibly worthwhile project."

Scott Meenagh said: "I never thought I would follow my dad’s interest in horticulture, but being involved in the gardening project at Headley Court has helped my rehabilitation following my injuries."

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