Stories behind the living sculptures

The young adults and children whose stories inspired this garden have found their individual Chelsea journey to be equally inspiring. Over the last four months they have worked with the designer, John Everiss, and some talented craftsmen to create stunning living sculptures which together illustrate the devastating impact it has on lives and families

Chelsea stories
For Jacob this was “a chance to show how when everything has gone wrong ,and you are laid there dying;  you can get up again, walk again and get on with life.   A life which may not be perfect but can still a positive one.”


Jacob Gray, 24, contracted meningococcal septicaemia in 2013.   Given less than a 10% chance of survival, he took the hard decision to have both legs amputated a year after falling ill so that he could walk again.   He says “The help and support I’ve had from this incredible charity is truly humbling and I know I wouldn’t have achieved all that I have without them “   Jacob now travels the UK raising awareness of the disease.


Louise Greer, 19, had meningitis at the age of 2 ½ and is a triple amputee.   A student of Equine Studies her horse acts as her vital physiotherapy keeping pain at bay and exercising her muscles. Louise has received the British Empire Medal (BEM) and is part of the Irish Para-dressage team.   She continues to raise awareness of meningitis in schools and colleges.


Lauren Booth, 15, was left with brain damage, hearing loss, cerebral palsy and balance difficulties having had meningitis at 6 weeks old. A tricycle funded by meningitis Now when she was 4, inspired a love of cycling.   To celebrate her 10th anniversary of surviving meningitis she cycled 25 miles from her home to the charity’s head office raising thousands of pounds to help families like hers.   She has recently set a new British para Cycling record in the Youth Omnium Challenge and hopes to represent the UK at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.


Liam Doyle, 5, has had meningitis a number of times – the first at just 7 weeks old – and now suffers multiple complications. His courage inspires his family in their ongoing support of Meningitis Now. His mother, Becky, says “While Liam keeps smiling we must keep fighting. Since we were handed the telephone number for Meningitis Now while in Intensive Care we have continued to be supported by this wonderful charity.   Being part of this garden at Chelsea is really significant for us as a family”.


Gareth Rowlands, 16, tragically lost his life to meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia in 2003.   His parents have been on a determined awareness and fundraising mission ever since, doing things they never imagined they would and raising almost £300,000 by completing some of the world’s toughest challenges.

In 2016, our 30th anniversary year, we aim to raise an additional £2m. Please donate today