The Duke of Kent unveiled a garden in Guildhall Yard yesterday to support The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch, an annual event which took place online this year through a series of virtual fundraising events. The garden launch was hosted by The Lord Mayor and The Lady Mayoress.

To mark this year’s virtual programme, which is supporting King Edward VII’s Hospital’s Pain Management Programme, Gianna Utilini, a member of the Gardeners Livery Company, designed the garden with a phoenix taking centre stage. The phoenix has been reborn from the ashes, having passed through darkness into light, representing the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal.

Gianna Utilini explained: “The veterans who have experienced pain in its many forms, both physically and psychologically, know the journey from darkness into light very well. The phoenix represents their pathway through the Pain Management Programme at the King Edward VII’s Hospital.

“There is always hope and this year more than ever we have all felt the need to draw on our inner strength to pull us through what can only be described as tumultuous times.

“The bright yellow foliage of the Acer Cappadocicum Aureum trees at the back represent the sun, optimism and confidence about the future. We have also included plants and flowers to attract pollinators as we are dependent on these insects to ensure that our green spaces flourish and thrive, consequently improving our health and wellbeing.”

The Phoenix and her eggs were designed and constructed by Waste Not Want Not. Waste Not Want Not is a horticultural based social enterprise and community interest company which uses horticulture as a therapeutic tool to assist in helping homeless people, ex-addicts, ex-off enders, socially excluded, people with mental health issues and depression and those recovering from a life crisis.

The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch, this year sponsored by Phoenix Group, has been an annual fixture in the City calendar since 2008. The lunch has raised in excess of £2.5 million which supports members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The next lunch will take place on 7th April 2022 – a date not to be missed!

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