KGH unveils mural to symbolise Covid impact and recovery

It represents those who have lost their lives, those who have survived, and the work of hospital staff

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 10:46 am
L-R: James Steele, Simon Weldon, Doreen Page, Debbie Needham.

A 30ft high mural to symbolise the impact of and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic has been unveiled at Kettering General Hospital.

The detailed 'Tree of Hope' has been hand-painted in one of its atriums to represent those who have lost their lives, those who have survived and the work of hospital staff.

It is based on an idea by Doreen Page, a recovery deputy sister in the hospital’s ear, nose and throat theatres, who noticed that some intensive care units were commemorating patients lost to Covid-19 with symbolic hearts.

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The new mural at KGH

She said: “I had an idea to take it further than that and to create a symbol of those who were lost, those who have survived, and something to mark the tremendous amount of work being done by NHS staff.

“The idea of the Tree of Hope is that its roots represent the hospital’s core values deeply embedded in supporting its local community.

“The branches are our frontline workers swaying in the storm of the pandemic but not breaking.

“The leaves represent the survivors of the pandemic and also those who sadly lost their lives and should be commemorated.”

A vine with commemorative leaves

As of yesterday (Wednesday), when the mural was unveiled at a socially-distanced event, a total of 514 Covid patients had tragically lost their life at the Rothwell Road hospital.

Doreen discussed the mural idea with the hospital’s 'We Care' co-ordinator Jayne Chambers before it was approved by chief executive Simon Weldon and other trust executives.

Local artist Catherine Matthews - who has done previous murals on KGH wards and in its dementia garden - painted the new mural on three boards fixed together to rise 30ft above the ground in the hospital’s Foundation Wing atrium.

Kettering General Hospital’s chaplain, the Rev Neil Tyrer, said: “The mural is an important symbol that we must always hold on to hope even in the worst of times.

“It commemorates all of those who have sadly died during the pandemic and the families left behind.

“It also recognises those who have survived Covid - including those who have spent long periods in hospital - and moved on from the most difficult of circumstances.

“The Tree of Hope also represents the extraordinary efforts from our staff on behalf of their local community. Efforts that have not been without cost in terms of stress and fatigue.”

Director of human resources Paula Kirkpatrick added: “Doreen’s idea really summed up a lot of what everyone has been going through during this pandemic.

“The awful loss of life, the way in which people have recovered from Covid and moved on, and the way the NHS came together to support its local community and the way the local community supported this hospital with donations of all kinds.

“I am delighted today that we have unveiled the Tree of Hope as a symbol of what we have been through together.”