A NEW sensory 'garden of colour' has been officially opened at Claire House.

Work on the project began in January and ended with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon.

The garden features a planter, so the children can plant their own vegetables, a specially designed canopy and hanging perspex leaves with different words that the children supplied.

Also featured is a canopy for children to stand under and enjoy the garden.

It was created by Greenfingers, a charity which creates inspiring gardens for hospices.

Performing the opening ceremony at Claire House were nine-year-old Leon Paul Salamanca - who uses the hospice services - and garden designer Carolyn Willitts in front of hospice staff and guests.

The project began with planning last year and work started in January.

Clare Doig, palliative care nurse specialist at the hospice told the Globe: "We were already looking at improving our sensory garden and applied to Greenfingers in the hope that they could help us.

"They came to us and we put together this fabulous garden. It's amazing.

"A lot of our children need a lot of sensory input and the garden is full of colour.

"We've already noticed a lot of birds, bees and butterflies have come to the garden.

"We've also got a canopy, which is great because they can be outside but still undercover and can look at the garden.

"The children's handprints are on the canopy, which means they are very much part of the new garden.

"We just can't wait to get out there and start enjoying it now.

"Hopefully, the sun will start shining so we can get out and start using the garden."

Leon's mother Toni-Marie Salamanca told the Globe that her son, who has an undiagnosed genetic condition, was "really proud" to have been asked to perform the opening ceremony.

She continued: "Claire House are amazing. We've been coming here for a while now and they have seen us through a lot of our milestones.

"We've had a wedding and they have sent staff along, have looked after Leon Paul for the whole day suited and booted him.

"They have always looked after him and to be told that there is a new sensory garden is brilliant.

"He's been working on the new vegetable patch I believe.

"I'm really proud of him. He's just such a good boy, adapts to everyone.

"The hospice is a really colourful, lovely place and the garden reflects that."

Linda Petrons, director of fundraising and communications at Greenfingers, said: "The garden's opening means such a lot.

"We've been on a brilliant journey with Claire House, who have worked with the most amazing designer and construction team who have really transformed this garden into somewhere really quite special for children and families to spend time in.

"Greenfingers has been around for 20 years now and this is our 56th garden in children's hospices.

"All the hospice gardens differ; they can be play gardens, therapy gardens, memorial gardens or in memory gardens.

"The Claire House garden has something for everyone; a covered area, lots of things for people to see, touch and smell.

"It's quite a special garden."