We’re cheering on our volunteer gardener Giles Collins, who has raised more than £1,500 for Julia’s House by taking on his first half marathon in 20 years.
After re-discovering his passion for running during lockdown, Giles decided to take part in this month’s Virtual Bath Half and will be running his own route in his local Wiltshire area.
When he’s not out training, Giles is often found sprucing up the special garden at our hospice in Devizes, where we care for some of the county’s most seriously ill children.
After he retired from his position as a geography teacher at St Mary’s Calne school, Giles decided to join Julia’s House as a volunteer, hoping to make a difference by “doing something useful”.
Now three years later he’s become a regular supporter, looking after the paths and plants in our sensory garden and also helping out at our high street shop in Devizes when it’s open.
“The garden’s really well thought out and it's a pleasure to work in,” Giles says. “There’s lots of colour and it’s deliberately designed to be accessible, so all the children and families can enjoy it.”
He says, “There’s a trampoline that children can go on in their wheelchair with an adult, and a kitchen area for play. There’s also benches, fountains and sensory items like wind chimes. We’ve also made sure there’s nothing prickly or sharp in there – so it’s safe for the children to explore.”
Since joining Julia’s House, Giles says he’s discovered things he didn’t know about the charity.
“The thing that really strikes me is that Julia’s House doesn’t just care for these seriously ill children, but the nurses and carers are also looking after the parents and siblings too. The siblings can be affected in a big way and I didn’t know about that before I joined.”
He adds, “The more you find out about the charity, the more important you realise it is, and the more you want to get involved.”
If you’d like to support Giles in his half marathon and donate to Julia’s House, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/giles-collins