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13 March 2012

Schoolboy competition winner unveils hospital  garden

Schoolboy Matthew Rennie from Turriff will officially open the 'Fresh Air Zone' garden he designed for a busy entrance to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The  Markethill Primary School pupil won a competition for Primary 6 schoolchildren in Grampian to create a new garden where patients, visitors and staff could relax and enjoy fresh air away from cigarette smoke.
The garden covers an area the size of a netball court beside the revolving door entrance, known as the rotunda entrance. Matthew's winning design features roses, benches, and a raised bed in the shape of a wishing well.
It was created by Aberdeen-based social firm Green Tracks, who will be putting in the finishing touches over the next few weeks to establish shrubs and plants.
Matthew 12, said: "I enjoyed designing the garden. It is a good idea and I hope lots of people make use of it."
The aim of the competition was to create an outdoor area free of tobacco smoke. It attracted more than 500 entries and Matthew's prize was a 'Cookit' kit for his school, a set of high quality cooking equipment for developing cooking and baking skills.
Vincent Shields, general manager of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said:
"The project supports NHS Grampian's tobacco policy, particularly to protect staff, visitors and patients from second hand smoke at the entrances to our building.
"The rotunda is one of our busiest entrances and has a smoking shelter only a few metres away, so we hope the introduction of the garden will help encourage everyone to maintain a fresh air zone right around the entrance.
"We are grateful to Matthew for his attractive design and for officially opening our new Fresh Air Zone. We also thank Green Tracks for their excellent work in this busy part of the Foresterhill health campus, which is visited by thousands of people every day."
The project was organised by Hazel Dempsey, Health Improvement Officer for acute services in NHS Grampian. She added:
"It has been a great achievement to create the garden in such a busy area, and we are grateful to the many staff who have helped it become a reality.
"The garden not only highlights NHS Grampian's commitment to providing a smoke-free environment here, it also demonstrates the health promotion attitude at ARI.
The opening also marks national No Smoking Day.