A competition-winning picture of a rainbow fairy hospital has been transformed into a new fairy door for Furzey Gardens’ famous collection.

The fairies of Furzey Gardens in Minstead recently invited children to design new doors for the garden as part of an online competition.

The winning entry in the seven to 11 category depicted a hospital decorated with a rainbow, as a tribute to the work of the NHS in the coronavirus crisis. The door has already been transformed into a real door and will be installed in the gardens soon.

The hospital was designed by seven year old Evelyn Nicol, who said: ‘I chose to do the fairy rainbow hospital because at the moment people are putting lots of rainbows up in windows, and rainbows are a sign of hope.’

Furzey Hospital and Evelyn Nicol

In total more than 50 youngsters drew their fantasy fairy door designs for the two week competition. Rainbows, lockdown, the NHS, rockets, pirates and bugs were just some of the popular themes that inspired children to get creative.

The competition was split into two categories and the winners are:

  • Six and under:
    • Autumn Cross, age three, for her Autumn Forest Hide – a safe place for hedgehogs to hide
    • Finlay Guppy, age six, for The Bug Vet, his vet’s practice for the bugs in the gardens
  • Seven to 11: Evelyn Nicol, age seven, for her Furzey Hospital inspired by the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

All the winners will receive a year’s family membership to use to visit the gardens once they are able to reopen. The winning designs are also being used to inspire three new fairy doors to be situated in the gardens, with Furzey Hospital already complete.

Autumn Cross and Finlay Guppy

Furzey Gardens is currently closed in line with the coronavirus outbreak guidelines, but has long been popular with families with young children for its charming trail of more than 40 doors hidden within the informal 10 acre woodland garden.

This winter a number of doors were renovated and new ones added, meaning there are now more doors to discover than ever before. Through this competition, several children are leaving a lasting mark on this special place by designing their own door to join the other new additions.

Hayley Harvey-Cross, Autumn Cross’ mother, said: ‘Autumn is so happy to have won and mummy is feeling very proud too. This is a lovely bit of news for us during a challenging time, gestures like these mean everything.

‘We can’t wait to be able to use our pass to check on all the fairies once Furzey is open again. And we will be excited to see what elements of Autumn’s door are brought to life. We will be sure to make use of your lovely cafe to show our support so that you can keep doing the great work that you do.’

Furzey Gardens is part of Minstead Trust, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities to live more independent and fulfilled lives. People with learning disabilities work in the tea rooms, help to maintain the gardens and raise plants for sale in the nursery, learning key skills in the process.

The next competition for under 11s will be to design their own secret gardens, launching in the week of 11 May at www.facebook.com/furzeygardens

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