New seaside courtyard opens at Cromer Hospital

PUBLISHED: 09:30 23 April 2013

Cromer Hospital seaside garden and seating. Matron Anita Martins enjoying the garden.

Cromer Hospital seaside garden and seating. Matron Anita Martins enjoying the garden. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

Seaside views have now been added to the amenities at Cromer’s new hospital.

Although the Mill Road hospital is actually a bit of hop, skip and jump away from the resort’s beaches, patients and staff are almost able to sniff the salt air and catch the sound of lapping waves, thanks to a new seaside-themed courtyard which has been officially opened on the site.

The feature includes an old wooden fishing boat, lobster pots, bunting, rocks, plants which will mostly be blue and purple, and a pebble mosaic.

It makes use of a boring, empty plot bordered on two sides by the hospital café and staff room, according to Helen Lloyd, hospital manager.

The transformation was paid for by contractors Mansell, who built the £15m replacement hospital which opened in March last year.

And the project was undertaken by Finch Garden Design, based in Hindringham.

Garden designer Jackie Finch, who worked with landscaper Ben Catt, found the fishing boat in Brancaster. It had to be cut in half to fit into the space, and then reassembled in position.

It has been named “Sagle” in honour of benefactress Sagle Bernstein whose £12m legacy paid for most of the new hospital, together with £1.4m left by Phyllis Cox.

But hospital regulations, which ban alcohol on the premises, meant that the good ship Sagle could not be launched with the traditional bottle of champagne last Friday.

Mrs Finch, her husband Jeff and Emma Noakes also collaborated on the courtyard’s pebble mosaic, which features a Cromer crab and four stylised fish.

Mrs Lloyd said work on the courtyard had been a big talking point at the hospital and she was very pleased with the finished result which could be viewed while patients and staff relaxed over a cuppa in the café or staff room.

Friday also saw the official opening of two seating areas outside the front entrance of the building.

The circular wooden benches, each surrounding a central tree, cost just over £1,000 and were paid for by the Cromer and District League of Hospital Friends.

Cromer Hospital manager Anita Martins said questionnaires filled in by about 700 patients revealed that most felt very positive about the new hospital.

Its first complete year’s figures show that more than 100,000 patients have been treated at the hospital since it opened, about 8,000 to 10,000 more than in the old hospital.

In addition to the services and extra clinics already provided, the hospital is now offering simple chemotherapy which it plans to expand by September.

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