A PEACEFUL Japanese garden was opened at Bury Hospice by a special visitor all the way from the country itself.

Akio Miyajima, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Japan in London, officially unveiled the hospice’s new outdoor “sanctuary” on Tuesday at 2pm.

Last year, the garden, designed by the Japanese Garden Society, was awarded a gold medal at the RHS flower show at Tatton Park.

Volunteers from the society and Bury Hospice spent six months re-using materials and plants from the show to create a larger version at the hospice in Rochdale Old Road.

Jacqui Comber, chief executive at Bury Hospice, said: “The hospice has already been recognised for its award-winning design and the Japanese Garden Society has come up with something very special.

“It complements the new facility and creates a peaceful sanctuary for patients and their families.

“We are really grateful Minister Miyajima has made time to formally open the garden.”

One part of the space is a Japanese-style garden with rocks, gravel, pruned trees and lanterns, while the other is more “English” with a lawn, decorative shrubs and different ornaments.

Graham Hardman, honorary vice-president of the Japanese Garden Society, said: “We have experience of creating gardens which work well in a hospice environment.

“The space at the new hospice lent itself to creating something very peaceful, and I think we have achieved that.

“We are all really proud of this garden, which has been made possible by the hard work of our members, hospice volunteers and local suppliers.”