Melvyn Hayes opens the Children's Ward Memorial Garden in memory of James Sparks. From left, Melvyn Hayes with James' parents Christopher and Yvonne Sparks, NHS Trust chief executive Karen Baker and chairman Danny Fisher.
A GARDEN created in the memory of an Isle of Wight teenager has been opened by actor Melvyn Hayes.
James Sparks, 17, was a long-term patient of the children's ward at St Mary's Hospital and when he died in 2009, his family donated money to the ward to be spent on a garden project.
The garden was created in what was formerly an area of waste ground, at the back of the children's ward.
Melvyn starred as gunner Gloria Beaumont in the comedy It Ain't Half Hot Mum, a programme James enjoyed watching with his dad while staying in hospital.
The garden, designed to be an area of calm and relaxation for patients, families, staff and visitors, included many of James' favourite things such as railways, trains and the seaside and has a shed painted as a ticket office with platform, murals, garden furniture and even a seagull flying overhead.
Children's ward clerk Pauline Martin said: "The time and commitment given by staff has been magnificent. Their determination to see the project through, together with the donation from James' parents has enabled us to create a vibrant living memorial to James."
Shanklin Brass band, of which James was a junior member, performed at the ceremony, closing with a rendition of The Great Escape, which James was well-known for whistling while on the ward.