A SPECTACULAR themed garden opening in Glasgow this week will celebrate the nurses who provide aid to our troops in battle zones around the world.
Called Under The White Cross, after the motto of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, it depicts a typical ward from the early days of Erskine Hospital.
The Nightingale Ward shows what life was like in Erskine, then known as the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, when it opened in 1916.
By the end of the First World War, more than 3,450 men had been admitted to Erskine Hospital, with 2,697 fitted with an artificial limb.
The ward display will be part of a garden centrepiece at this week’s Ideal Home Show in the SEC, and was inspired by Erskine resident, Agnes MacLeod, who served in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.
“I began my nurse training in 1940,” Agnes, 95, explained.
“But with nursing, there is no change, no roaming, so I decided I was going to join up to the Forces in 1949.”
Her six years of service took her from Woolwich and York to Germany and Hong Kong, and she achieved the rank of captain.
“I spent three years in Hong Kong and it was beautiful. A full hospital went from England.
“I was in Germany for a couple of years and enjoyed my time there. Their troops hadn’t wanted the war any more than we did.
“I’m very proud to have nursed a number of Chelsea Pensioners and I look out for them on Armistice Day on TV. It’s wonderful to see them.”
Agnes, who moved from her childhood home on Skye to Erskine earlier this year, only left the Corps when she got married. She went on to have two children.
The grandmother of one will visit the exhibition this week and added: “I’m sure seeing the ward laid out the way it used to be will bring back a lot of memories.”
The exhibition display was designed by Erskine Events Project Officer Jennifer Campbell.
She said: “Over the past five years, the Erskine garden has taken us on a journey through the lives of those who have served their country.
“In 2018, Erskine goes back to the height of the First World War, when a hospital was set up to care for Scotland’s injured soldiers.”
Also returning this year is the Erskine Plant Market, filled with a selection of colourful hanging baskets, plants and shrubbery to purchase, with all proceeds supporting Erskine veterans.
Ideal Home Show, May 31-June 3