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Generosity flourishes at the BISC

More Confronting COVID-19 Stories

Over 2,000 tulips from Queen’s campus in England have been donated to lift some spirits.

  • Tulips at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) were gathered into more than 300 bouquets that were donated to frontline health care workers in the United Kingdom as well as vulnerable members of the local community.
    Tulips at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) were gathered into more than 300 bouquets that were donated to frontline health care workers in the United Kingdom as well as vulnerable members of the local community. (Photo by Julie Ryan)
  • Staff members and volunteers collected tulips from the gardens of the Bader International Study Centre. The flowers were part of care packages for healthcare workers.
    Staff members and volunteers collected tulips from the gardens of the Bader International Study Centre. The flowers were part of care packages for healthcare workers. (Photo by Julie Ryan)
  • Staff members and volunteers collected tulips from the gardens of the BISC. The flowers were included in care packages for healthcare workers.
    Staff members and volunteers collected tulips from the gardens of the BISC. The flowers were included in care packages for healthcare workers. (Photo by Julie Ryan)
  • Volunteers help collect tulips from the gardens of the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle.
    Volunteers help collect tulips from the gardens of the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle. (Photo by Julie Ryan)

Spring is usually a time when the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) is bustling with students and visitors taking in the beauty of Herstmonceux Castle and its grounds, including the breathtaking gardens. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has closed the property to the public so no one has been able to view the thousands of flowers that recently bloomed after being planted in the fall.

But the BISC turned this into an opportunity to show support for those most affected by the pandemic. Staff members at the BISC cut over 2,000 tulips and gathered them into more than 300 bouquets that were donated to frontline health care workers in the United Kingdom as well as vulnerable members of the local community.

“It seemed like the most fitting choice to give our tulips to the health care workers who are doing so much to keep everyone safe right now and the people who are a part of groups vulnerable to the virus. We wanted our community to know we’re thinking of them during this stressful time,” says Hugh Horton, Vice-Provost and Executive Director of the BISC.

BISC on the BBC

Just before the flowers were cut and shared, the BBC arrived to take some shots of the scenery to share with people at a safe distance. Recently, the network produced a segment featuring Guy Lucas, Gardens and Grounds Manager at Herstmonceux Castle, who is the only person still working regularly on site. Mixing aerial drone footage and close-up shots of flowers, the BBC captured the quiet magic of Queen’s empty English campus at a time of year when it is usually buzzing with activity.

“Everyone has put in so much work and so much time and so much energy to create something for people. The whole idea of these gardens is for people to appreciate and to love them. And there’s no one there to love them other than me,” Lucas told the BBC. He added that he’ll be planting again soon and hopes that people will be able to come see the next bloom in the garden.

To learn more about the BISC and take a virtual tour of the campus, visit their website.