A GARDEN near Winchester is opening its gates in memory of a young man who died of cancer.

Laurence’s Garden is an informal garden at the foot of the South Downs so-called after Laurence Withey, who died in November 2018 following a battle with a rare cancer called Rhabdomysarcoma.

Laurence lived at Longwood for his short life of 21 years, with a three-year spell at Royal Holloway University of London where, regardless of receiving chemotherapy treatment, he graduated on his 21st birthday with a 2:1 Honours in Classical Civilisations.

Between treatment and spells of neutropenia, Laurence enjoyed being able to spend time in the garden which is at his home on the Longwood Estate, near Owslebury.

He would when possible potter and help his mum with small jobs, entertain friends and generally find the space ideal for reflection. He fully appreciated the therapeutic power of the garden and wished for others to be able to benefit from it too.

As such the garden is open to others seeking a quiet and reflective, natural space to remove themselves from the effects of treatment and being incapacitated. Tea, coffee and cake are served and donations welcome. Within the garden is a beautifully converted Victorian Granary offering a lovely, warm space to still enjoy the countryside from on cooler days.

Laurence’s mum Abigail said: "We’re hoping to register the garden with the National Garden Scheme, a Royal Horticultural Society and MacMillan shared initiative so that we can have a couple of open days per year to raise awareness and funding for cancer support. However, the garden is available all year round for people to visit, regardless of diagnosis. Everyone can benefit from it."

Donations raised will go to Laurence’s Campaign which aims to improve early diagnosis for young adults. Abigail added: "Laurence’s diagnosis took three months and when he was finally referred to Oncology services we met so many other young adults with the same story."

The Campaign is already off to a great start with the support of Laurence’s University GP and Southampton University Hospital Oncology Department.

People can follow the Campaign and the garden at www.laurencescampaign.blog, FB: @earlydiagnosisforyoungadults or Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurencesCampa1

To book a visit to the garden call Abigail on 01962 771441 or email laurencescampaign@gmail.com.