Monday 21 May 2018
  • Nine time Chelsea Gold Medal winner Sarah Eberle has been inspired by the hopes and dreams of India’s young people and by the exceptional diversity of India’s flora. The planting is a mix of vibrant colours, representing the energy and colours of India.

  • Eberle worked with artisans in Jaipur to design and build pietra dura marble walls, inspired by the Mughal architecture of India.

  • The Himalayan blue poppies reflect the blue of the Indian cricket jersey, calling to mind the UK and India’s shared love of cricket. The unveiling of the garden marks the launch of Changing Moves Changing Minds, an international education programme devised to enrich the lives of thousands of children in India through integrated dance and sports lessons that encourage equal participation by girls and boys in the classroom.

  • Changing Moves Changing Minds is based on a pilot delivered by the British Council in partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club and the Royal Academy of Dance.

  • The garden was commissioned by the British Council in partnership with the Piramal Group and is supported by the JSW Group, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services), Dr Pheroza J Godrej, Stanrose Mafatlal Group, Dr Gita Piramal and Leena Gandhi Tewari.

The unveiling of the British Council Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show marks the 70th anniversary of the British Council in India. The cricket theme was chosen to reflect the love of the sport that is shared so deeply and passionately by both countries.

Designer Sarah Eberle has woven aspects of cricket into the British Council Garden, including three-metre high wooden wickets and cricket ball planters. She has also selected plants associated with British explorers, some of which nod to the blue colour of the Indian cricket jersey. The garden features Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis), documented in 1922 by George Leigh Mallory, and blue orchids (Vanda coerulea), which were collected by Thomas Lobb between 1848 and 1853 in the modern state of Meghalaya.

Sarah visited India in January 2018 as part of her research for the garden, where she met craft workers in Jaipur and commissioned the pietra dura, a highlight of the garden. The walls are inlaid with flowers made up of lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones. The craftsmen are the fourth generation of their family to work in pietra dura, and contributed to the renovation of the world famous Taj Mahal.

The garden includes images of Indian children playing cricket in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The British Council funded two landscape architecture students from India to work with Sarah on the build of the garden during the 19-day preparation period for Chelsea.

Alan Gemmell OBE, Director India, British Council says: “The British Council Garden at Chelsea celebrates our 70th anniversary year in India. We’re proud to say we’ve been inspired every day of the last 70 years by India’s artists, young people and teachers, and this garden celebrates that, as well as the connections between our countries and our shared love of cricket. We’re delighted that the legacy project from the British Council Garden is an education programme that will use the power of cricket and dance to enrich the lives of a hundred thousand schoolchildren in India, promoting positive roles for boys and girls.”

Changing Moves Changing Minds aims to enrich children’s lives through integrated dance and sports lessons that encourage girls and boys to play together. Specially designed lesson plans will get pupils to collaborate, and will spark conversations in the classroom about gender equality.

The programme will be rolled out to schools in India from September 2018. In its first year 1,200 teachers in government and private schools throughout India will receive specialist training. Changing Moves Changing Minds aims to reach over 100,000 pupils aged 10 to 12 through integrated physical education (PE) classes, using cricket and movement to challenge gender stereotypes and open up opportunities for everyone.

The programme will be delivered by the British Council in India following a successful pilot devised and delivered in partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). The pilot ran between February and May 2018, with 18 teachers and over 250 students benefiting from the project.

Luke Rittner, Chief Executive, RAD says: “The mission of the Royal Academy of Dance is to advocate for the benefits of dance around the world, so we were delighted to work with Indian teachers and students as part of Changing Moves Changing Minds. It was fantastic to see teachers across India inspire their students through this project, and to observe the incredible impact the pilot project had in a short space of time.”

Guy Lavender, Chief Executive, MCC says: “MCC is always keen to explore new ways of bringing cricket into the lives of children, both in the UK and around the world. Our partnership with Royal Academy of Dance has proved highly successful in challenging gender stereotypes, and the British Council in India’s Changing Moves Changing Minds programme provides a fantastic opportunity to extend this work overseas. I hope the legacy of the project will be around for many years to come.”


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For further information and interview requests, please contact Conor Dwan, Senior Press Officer, British Council on or 0203 285 3667 / 07840 190007.



Notes to Editor

Planting in the British Council Garden includes:

  • Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis), a species found in the late spring of 1922 by a British expedition led by legendary mountaineer George Leigh Mallory. The poppy was discovered on their failed attempt to reach the summit of then unconquered Mount Everest. Today the poppy can be found in the Indian State of Sikkim.
  • Blue orchid (Vanda coerulea), which was first collected in the Khasia hills of India in the modern state of Meghalaya, by Thomas Lobb, who travelled through India between 1848 and 1853. The orchid flowered for the first time in Britain in December 1950.
  • Sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), which has inspired Hinduism and Buddhism as well as artists through the ages. In Hinduism the lotus flower is associated with beauty, prosperity, spirituality, and eternity. The lotus provides nutrients and medicine which have long-sustained indigenous peoples, and its unusual properties have inspired 21st century waterproofing. In the early 20th century, it was grown in conservatories in Britain and featured on wallpaper and inspired objets d'art.
  • Roses (Rosaceae), the flower of the Mughals. Rose motifs often feature in Mughal architecture across Northern India, including at the Taj Mahal, which was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan for the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Sarah Eberle Sarah has an esteemed record in RHS shows, having exhibited at Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Park. She has 15 Gold Medals, of which nine are Chelsea. She has won Best in Show at Chelsea in two categories (Show and Artisan) and Best in Show at Hampton Court. She has been working in the landscape industry for almost 30 years.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

About the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD)

With approximately 14,000 members in 84 countries, the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the largest and most influential dance education and training organisations in the world. Established in 1920 to improve standards and re-invigorate dance training, the Academy helps and encourages its teachers to perfect their teaching skills and pass on this knowledge to their students. There are currently over 1,000 students in full-time or part-time teacher training programmes with the Academy and each year the examination syllabus is taught to thousands of young people worldwide, with approaching a quarter of a million pupils per year going on to take RAD exams.

About Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)

MCC is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws and Spirit of the game. There are 18,000 Full and 5,500 Associate Members of MCC.

The focus of MCC’s Community Development work is to partner with our stakeholders to bring added value to their work, helping people to achieve more. The key areas of strategic priority are:

·         Education and Employment

·         Health and Wellbeing

·         Inclusion and Cohesion

The Club is currently delivering programmes which each target at least one of these priorities.  New ideas aim to make a sustained difference with a positive outcome to those who need it most.