We had our flu jabs at the health centre this week, marking another year gone while still, thankfully, remaining fit. It was a reminder, too, of the changing seasons, just as in spring I undergo a blood-sample check – hoping for sunny results!
Of course, the place to really appreciate the seasons is outside and, apparently, those great outdoors are vital to our health. According to doctors, the natural environment plays an important part in our physical and spiritual well-being. The Royal College of Medicine and the NHS Alliance both champion ‘outdoor healing’ and the ‘therapeutic role of a garden’.
Unfortunately, our busy and ever-expanding hospitals rarely have time or space to develop tranquil places of beauty with healing environments. However, some charities now maintain gardens by medical centres to give them a salubrious setting. On the Fylde we’re fortunate to have many parks and public gardens as well as the coastline to walk and cycle, or to simply sit and breathe that fresh air so prized by our forebears.
There’s something of a celebration of all this beginning next week at Stanley Park, last year voted the best in the UK. Former Gazette journalist Elizabeth Gomm has an exhibition of pictures and words involving diverse visitors, centred upon her memorial bench by the boating lake to her late partner, former Gazette chief photographer Mike Foster. The exhibition is free and at the Visitor Centre run by The Friends of Stanley Park, beside its welcoming art-deco café Parks.
Of course, there are many memorial benches, as well as dedicated trees, around our park - the largest recreational green space outside London. Each tells a different story but all reflect that deep pleasure and contentment from relaxing in an uplifting natural environment.
Let’s wish Elizabeth well – and all others who enjoy a park visit. I’ll look out for you there!
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