During John’s treatment, we discovered the gardens for neurological patients outside McKissock Ward at Atkinson Morley Hospital, Tooting. The gardens were commissioned by the famous Brain Surgeon Henry Marsh CBE to help with patient recovery but were in need of some TLC. With the agreement of the hospital the John King Brain Tumour Foundation has adopted the garden, and with a team of friends they are being maintained for the benefit of patients, visitors and staff.

John’s son, Gareth, visited the garden on Sunday 29 April 2018 and sent in these photos showing it’s still in good shape after some harsh winter days, and now ready for some summer planting. The new plaque takes pride of place on the wall.

Over the last few months, the neurosurgical wards and theatres at the Atkinson Morley Wing, St. George’s were converted to house and treat those infected with COVID- 19, so the wonderful team there have been battling on the frontline against the virus with trying days of hard choices and rationed resources.

The roof garden adjacent to the McKissock Ward, which the John King Brain Tumour Foundation maintain, became a peaceful haven for the staff where they could escape the intensity of the wards and feel the fresh air.

‘In May/June I spent 7 days in McKissock Ward following the removal of a large bifrontal olfactory groove meningioma. The surgeons stressed the need to be upright and moving asap and the roof gardens were an ideal place for me to walk slowly around when I was able to. I would also sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, plants, tranquillity, and space away from the busy ward. It was a space to think and contemplate, so important after such life-saving surgery, I’m certain it helped my recovery. I loved it there and am grateful to all those involved in providing it.’

 Imelda Turnock (September 2022)

Just wanted to say thank you for the roof garden. I’m an anaesthetist and I was deployed to work on the Covid ICUs for 8 weeks in March and April when we were the busiest. I’ve been moved back to the operating theatres now as things have calmed down. Those weeks in Brodie ICU ward were tough and challenging. But the garden made such a big difference to all of us who worked there. It meant that we could have half an hour in the fresh air to have our lunch. So good for our well-being and it was a lovely space to be together with colleagues. It’s what made those grim weeks bearable for me to be honest with you – so thank you so much from all of us.

 Dr Rumiko King, Anaesthetist (June 2020)

“The PPE staff are wearing is very hot, and they are working in scrubs, so the roof garden is a haven where staff can step out for some quiet reflection and to cool down. We cannot give the staff a hug, but these flowers will.”

– Laura King

‘Last week I spent 4 days in Brodie Wing, Atkinson Morley Unit, St Georges following surgery for removal of a meningioma. I found life on the ward extremely noisy, bright, and exhausting thus was delighted when I discovered the roof garden. Whenever I could I took my blanket and lay on one of the recliners enjoying the beautiful flowers and appreciating the wonderfully designed garden. It brought me great joy at a time of great stress. Thank you for providing this for patients. It is a wonderful thing to have done in memory of John.’

 Wendy Dutton (May 2019)