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ILLUSTRATED MURAL FOR THE CHILDREN’S EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT – KING’S MILL HOSPITAL, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

24 November 2010

We realised from the very beginning, well as soon as we had visited the site, that a heritage mural would be totally out of place in a Children’s Emergency Waiting Room. We needed to promote that the Trustees of the Mansfield Gospel Mission Church had given a very substantial donation, to enable the department to be stocked with much needed specialised medical equipment, toys and play equipment. At the same time create a display that was bright, cheerful and appealing to children and young people for years to come.

Taking on board the fact that the major part of the ministry at The Mission was for the welfare of local children, and included many musical activities, influenced my initial sketches for the mural. We were supplied with many historical photos at The Mission, but one little photo just immediately sang out to me! This was of a little girl dressed in her oversized father’s brass band jacket, and blowing on his tuba! This immediately inspired me to use this photo, cut-out and hand coloured, to base my illustration around.

First of all, I illustrated ribbons snaking their way out of the tuba and framing the wording; “The Gospel Mission helped fund this Emergency Department for Children and Young People specially for YOU!” I then set the little girl in a garden scene of blowsy hollyhocks, swaying daisies, fluttering butterflies and gliding dragonflies. I also illustrated more musical instruments, including a concertina, which was an integral part of the musical activities enjoyed by children at The Mission.

I designed the whole mural to fit part of the wall around the reception desk, the little girl playing the tuba features at child-height, which is also perfect for people to view whilst sat in the waiting area. An historical photo taken inside The Gospel Mission was positioned alongside a brief resume of its history, at a perfect height to be read by adults whilst waiting at the reception desk.

We often include some form of illustrations, for example, the full size trees and nursing staff marching along a country lane for The Friarage Hospital mural completed in 2005. Though a large illustration, this was still just a frame for the whole mural. This present mural though, has been the first where the history has been included as just a part of a bright, colourful illustration. I have thoroughly enjoyed letting my realms of imagination take flight in this direction, and hope that more similar projects will come our way in future.

As I work from sketches and then draw them up onto a computer, the artwork is not directly painted to the hospitals’ walls, but printed onto a tough, long lasting textured laminate. This is then permanently ‘wallpapered’ to the prepared wall, and can be kept clean to meet infection control procedures. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project – Karen van de Bospoort.

On Tuesday 9 November there was a Dedication Ceremony for hospital staff and members of the Gospel Mission, who were invited to view the proceeds of their generosity.  BBC Radio Nottingham recorded the ceremony and everyone was later treated to a buffet lunch.