Brian Needham – MacMillan Allotment.
Brian starting attending the MacMillan allotment about a year ago. He had returned to the UK from a life in Spain because of serious ill health. Brian had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and had undergone extensive surgery in Spain but was struggling to recover and continue his working life abroad. On his return to Wythenshawe, Brian acted on the advice of the Macmillan Team based at Wythenshawe hospital to get more exercise and suggested he give the MacMillan allotment a try.
Brian has always enjoyed gardening so he was returning to something he really loved after a long and bleak period of inactivity, unsure even if he was going to live much longer. He had spent many months lacking the confidence to leave home for any length of time. Happily, Brian found that the allotment offered him much more than a morning of gardening:
“The allotment is such a friendly place and I definitely believe laughter is the best medicine. It’s a great place to come along and do as little or as much as you like. Nobody minds if you’re not feeling up to working on the plot, the group are really supportive and they know what you are going through on bad days. It’s somewhere where we come and feel really welcome”
Brian explained what the impact of his weekly sessions at the allotment has been: “More than anything is the return of my positive attitude to life. I realise the importance of maintaining the things you love. I have made good friends here and I generally feel healthier eating seasonal, good quality food. I am a master butcher by trade but I now eat much more veg. I definitely focus much more on healthy eating now. Real Food Wythenshawe has also provided extra opportunities for growing: an amazing poly tunnel, and plant sharing with other growing groups. I’m helping tend the young plants up at Wythenshawe Horticultural Centre on days when I’m not at the allotment”.