Together remembers Clive Harris and his work in the garden at York House in Hampshire

Together would like to remember Clive Harris, who used our West Hampshire Housing and Support Service and thank him for all of the work he, along with his parents, put into maintaining the beautiful garden (see above) at the property at York House in Winchester. Clive sadly passed away last month at the age of 46 and we’d like to pass on our condolences to all of his family and friends. We also wanted to celebrate the brilliant work Clive did in maintaining the garden at the property and highlight the huge benefit a space like that has for all of the people living their.

As we’re sure you’ll be able to see from the photos included here, the garden at York House is picturesque and tranquil place to be and service users and staff alike enjoy it today as well as hopefully taking inspiration from Clive to take part in gardening themselves ensuring his enthusiasm and dedication continue to have a positive effect.

Val French is a Mental Health Recovery Worker who worked alongside Clive and she commented:

Clive was a popular and respected tenant for many years at York House. He and his parents enjoyed working and maintaining the garden, and greenhouse.

Activities like gardening can be really beneficial for people’s mental wellbeing and we felt this was something Clive agreed with as he lived with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. As a result we thought it could be inspirational to others to ask Clive’s mother Marion, who continues to volunteer at the garden with her husband, to provide some further details on when Clive’s interest in gardening developed and how this helped him to cope with the mental distress he experienced:

Our staff at York House in Winchester are very grateful for all of the work that Clive did on the garden there, was gardening something he always enjoyed?

Clive caught the gardening bug about 5 years after he was diagnosed. We came to York House one afternoon and found him pulling weeds and brambles with his bare hands. Once he cleared the front door area (which now features many barrels) he went to the greenhouse and asked if he could source some glass to replace the broken panes. After this we started on the lower garden, where he started to design flowerbeds and the vegetable garden. All this took many years and a considerable amount of hard work but it was well worth it in the end.

Do you think tending to the garden was something that helped Clive to cope with the mental distress that he experienced?

The garden is Clive’s legacy and an ongoing project and we are proud to keep it going for as long as possible. Gardening did help him a lot, it gave him a reason to come outside each day even just to water, which took an hour or more during the dryer periods.

Do you think gardening is something Clive would have recommended to other people who experience mental distress?

Clive did have other service users helping from time to time but finding people who enjoy gardening as much as he did are few and far between. Some see it as a niche hobby.

Clive’s mother Marion and her husband have since planted a tree in the garden in memory of Clive as shown in this picture below.