A local meningitis survivor is set to take centre stage in one of this year’s gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Coleraine teenager Louise Greer Louise, a student at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, is one of four young people selected by national charity Meningitis Now to feature in its 30th anniversary garden at the show.
Louise has recently been 3D scanned at a specialist studio in the West Midlands, and this image will be turned into a laminated Canadian cedar wood sculpture by award-winning designer John Everiss in the ‘Believe and Achieve’ garden he is creating for the charity.
“It’s a real thrill to be selected as a model for this garden” Louise said.
“I can’t wait to see the final sculpture and how it fits into the overall garden design.”
Louise, a Young Ambassador for the charity, had meningitis when she was two-and-a-half. “It was just a normal day, I was out washing the car with my dad and then everything changed,” she said.
“I collapsed in the garage and was rushed to the hospital, where they had to amputate both my legs through the knee, part of my left arm and parts of my fingers on the right hand. I can’t remember much of what happened as I was very young at the time. After I had recovered from the meningitis I then went to get my first set of artificial legs so I could walk and play with the other children.
“As I got older I wanted to fundraise for Meningitis Now and to be able to raise awareness, I used to get someone in from the meningitis team to come and talk at my school but now as an ambassador I am able to go around to raise awareness to all different types of age groups. Since I have had meningitis I have achieved many things such as, getting a gold Blue Peter badge, getting on the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list and receiving the British Empire Medal (BEM).”
The Cotswold-country garden, to reflect the charity’s Gloucestershire-based roots, is being designed by Chelsea gold-medal winning designer and landscaper John Everiss.