Edinburgh Sick Kids opens new sensory garden in memory of 'beautiful' 14-year-old
The Edinburgh Sick Kids has opened a brand new multisensory musical garden in loving memory of East Lothian teenager Jess Mackie.
Opened at the new hospital site at Little France, the new garden is thought to be the only one of its kind in the UK and is hoped to give children a chance to make music while receiving treatment.
The beautiful space was funded by the work of the parents of Jess Mackie, a local 14-year-old who tragically passed away in 2018.
A huge lover of music and a member of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, Jess had died suddenly, leaving her family and friends devastated.
To honour her, Jess's parents Michael and Jackie set out to raise funds for a multisensory garden in the hopes other children could benefit from music as she did.
Speaking about the fund, they said: “Jess was a caring and compassionate girl who always sought to help others. At only 14, she had a sense of how powerful music could be in helping people when they were in need.
“Many children and young people in hospital feel vulnerable because they lack control over what's happening to them. Music can have an enormous and positive impact, helping ignite a spark and give back a sense of control.
“It also gives children and young people a means of expressing themselves, making friends and building confidence. Jess knew this and would have loved to know she was a part of making this happen.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the wonderful music garden which is such a fitting tribute to our beautiful daughter. We hope lots of children, young people, families and hospital staff will enjoy it for many years to come.”
Featuring five large, free-standing musical instruments - the Congas, Tembos, Rainbow Trio Chimes, Harmony Bells and Marimba – the garden pays tribute to Jess’ love of music and encourages children and young people to have fun making melodies together in a relaxing, non-clinical setting away from the wards.
Created through the tribute fund for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, the space will also become an outdoor performance venue when coronavirus restrictions allow.
Rachel Baxter, Director of Fundraising at ECHC, said: “Music-making is a large part of the ECHC Arts Programme as it has such a positive impact on children and young people’s wellbeing. It’s fantastic to now have this brand new space in which we can do even more music, performance and arts activities and ensure children don’t miss out on the magic of music while in hospital.
“The Mackie family are incredible and we are enormously grateful to them and their family, friends and supporters for funding the wonderful Jess Mackie Music Garden and all music-making activities within the hospital. Thanks to their support, we can bring Jess’ passion for music and singing to so many more children and young people on the wards.”
You can find the Jess Mackie Memorial Fund here.