Katie's Garden            

Group photo in the finished gardenThe Gate plaqueA Shirley youngster's dreams have come true after Shirley Lions responded to an appeal to transform her garden into a magical play area.

Five-year old Katie Chamley from Shakespeare Road in Shirley has a rare, incurable condition called tuberous sclerosis. At just four months old she was diagnosed with tumours on her brain, heart and kidneys. As a result, her mother, Anna, appealed to local people and businesses to transform her garden into a child-friendly area for her daughter to play in.

Shirley Lions duly responded to the appeal and contacted her parents to offer their assistance.

The project began with Lion Mike Cooke ( a retired architect ) drawing up some plans and once the family had accepted these the members of Shirley Lions under the guidance of Lion Andy Luckett got down to some seriously hard graft, ripping out an old garage and creating a seaside wonderland for her. The work also involved providing a ramped and safety padded access to the garden, providing "absorbafall" safety surfacing, replacing fencing and lawns, replanting borders and designing an ocean-style mural.

Andy said: " Katie's parents explained how she loves playing outside and kicking a ball or taking her dolls for a walk, but the garden wasn't suitable for her. With that in mind we designed a new garden for her which is free of obstructions and great fun for her and her little sister, Alice, to play in."

The make-over took more than 300 man-hours and Katie's mother expressed her gratitude: "Katie loves playing in her new garden - she really enjoys the seaside theme and it's marvellous to see the smile on her face when sh'e out there. The support of friends, family and the Lions has been wonderful," she said.

Just look at all those tools                        Lion Andy supervises                     Lion John tests if the concrete is dry


The Absorbafall safety surface is laid.                       Lawns, walls and fencing now complete                      Wendyhouse, trampoline and the mural