Spey Bay firewood firm helps spruce up Dr Gray's Hospital sensory garden with bench donation
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A LOCAL firewood company is helping to keep the home fires burning with a donation to Elgin's Dr Gray's Hospital.
Warm-hearted Ross Gordon, from DRG Services Spey Bay, delivered a new bench for the hospital's sensory garden this week.
For a period during lockdown the firm decided to donate £10 from every sale to the NHS – but wanted the benefit to be felt at a local level rather than it disappearing into a central pot.
Ross asked friend and customer Gillian Clarke, a phlebotomist at Dr Gray's, how the money could be best spent in the health service locally. The worker suggested an addition to the sensory garden, which was established five years ago.
Ross said: "During the first month of lockdown we were classed as essential workers as a fuel supplier and were allowed to continue with firewood deliveries. But we felt a bit guilty about still being able to operate.
"We decided to put £10 from each order to the NHS, but then felt we would prefer it went to Dr Gray's rather than the national fund as we like to keep things local.
"We purchased a bench from HIS in Elgin and had a brass plaque made up and fitted. The bench is pressure treated so should last for years and we also gave it a few coats of preservation oil."
Liz Tait, head of clinical and care governance at Dr Gray's, said staff needed fresh air breaks now more than ever after wearing masks all day as part of Covid-19 transmission prevention.
She said: "We're really grateful that Ross recognised the quality of the work that was being done by the staff here in the hospital and across the whole of the NHS.
"We really appreciate the fact that, while he was still able to deliver wood as essential fuel to his customers, he felt he could contribute to the hospital, so that through the years staff can come out and sit here and remember that other people thought about us during the pandemic.
"We're absolutely delighted that he took the time to do this.
"The bench will encourage staff to come out at break times into the fresh air which will give them a bit of relief from having to wear masks if they're socially distant outside."
Space is currently at a premium in the hospital as the dining room cannot accommodate a large number of staff at one time due to social distancing requirements.
Health and social care enterprise Greenfingers Moray tend the sensory garden, but in recent months usual maintenance has been disrupted. However, a Dr Gray's staff team held a summer's end tidy-up of the space on Friday night.
Gillian said: "A bench is something that all staff could possibly utilise – Ross said I'll have to load-test it.
"It was a lovely thought – very kind."