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Maidstone Grammar School for Girls opens garden to help pupils suffering through grief

A space for young girls to cope with grief and daily stresses has officially opened.

Maidstone Girls Grammar School unveiled The Woodland Garden last week, paying tribute to former beloved former maths teacher Susan Rosier.

School counsellor Kerry Green was inspired to create the gardens after helping pupils cope with the death of loved ones.

From left, the mayor of Maidstone Cllr Marion Ring, Deborah Stanley, headteacher, Bethya and Charlotte, both 14 and Kerry Green, school counsellor at the grand opening of The Woodland Garden. Picture: John Westhrop (13607545)
From left, the mayor of Maidstone Cllr Marion Ring, Deborah Stanley, headteacher, Bethya and Charlotte, both 14 and Kerry Green, school counsellor at the grand opening of The Woodland Garden. Picture: John Westhrop (13607545)

She said: "Nature can be calming and grounding. In a world that is so busy 'doing', this garden can be a space to 'be' rather than 'do'.

"It's a space to remember a loved one, but also a space to reconnect with nature, with others and with ourselves.

"Here we can reflect on what is important in life in the midst of stress."

Grand opening of The Woodland Garden - An Open Space to Remember and Reflect at MGGS. Picture: John Westhrop. (13607544)
Grand opening of The Woodland Garden - An Open Space to Remember and Reflect at MGGS. Picture: John Westhrop. (13607544)

The space's full name is The Woodland Garden - Our Space to remember and reflect, and it has already proved popular.

Pupils have been visiting at lunchtimes and maintenance will be shared between form groups on a monthly basis.

The garden has a bench dedicated to Mrs Rosier, who retired from the school in 1997.

She died shortly after following a battle with illness.

Mrs Rosier's husband Brian and her daughter Pauline Unwin, a former MGGS pupil, have sponsored the garden's Moon Gate, a rose in her memory and a bench set to be positioned next a cherry tree at the garden's entrance.

The garden, filled with sculptures designed by pupils, was made possible after donations from the likes of Headstart Kent, MGGS Parents and Friends Association as well as current students and staff.

Mrs Lila Brewer, the MGGS development trust and alumni relations officer said: "It has been wonderful to work with families and see their joy in having their own bench, sculpture or an area of the garden in memory of a loved one."

Based in the school grounds, the garden has been designed and created by Greenwood Landscapes.

Mrs Green added: "I look forward to using this garden to support students, for example by creating memory stones that can be placed here as part of their counselling, or outside of counselling at a time that is important for them to mark.

"To be able to take our work out of the counselling room into this beautiful space where they can reconnect and reflect."

If you're struggling, help is available, visit tinyurl.com/releasethepressurekent to find out more.

Read more: All the latest news from around Maidstone.

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