Drawings created by children of frontline NHS staff are taking centre stage in one of the iconic ‘Fenwick windows’ as part of a special tribute being paid to thousands of North East hospital staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID19 outbreak.

The paintings and artwork were previously displayed in the corridors of the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), the Freeman and the Great North Children’s Hospital, part of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

However, they are now the inspiration behind a dedicated display put together by Fenwick’s internal creative team,which was unveiled at the Northumberland Street store to coincide with its reopening last Monday, June 15.

A hand-made patchwork quilt is the centrepiece of the window.

More than 50 of the children’s images were chosen at random, and members of the public can not only see the artwork on show in the store but can also donate to the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Charity by buying special tote bags, commissioned and produced by Fenwick. The bags feature two of the children’s drawings and will be sold in store and online, with profits from the sale of each bag being donated directly to the charity.

Libby (aged six from South Shields), whose mum, Sarah, is a Specialist Respiratory Consultant and has been working on the frontline treating COVID patients for the past ten weeks, is one of the children whose ‘rainbow heart’ design was chosen for the tote bag. She said, “It was really fun to do as I like drawing. I’ve made lots of rainbow pictures for our house and our neighbours so I decided to make this one a bit different and made it into a heart.

“I liked using all the bright colours, and I’ve talked to mum about what the NHS is and how it is looking after people. My mum is a doctor and helps make poorly people better. I’m really excited to see the window and my mum is going to use one of my bags at work.”

Sarah, who is part of a dedicated frontline medical team treating patients needing high-level care at the RVI, added, “As a mum, I am immensely proud of Libby. It is difficult for young children to understand what is happening at the minute, but Libby has coped very well with changes at school and at home, and she understands that I have to go to work to care for patients.

“Having her design chosen is absolutely amazing, and I hope that everyone continues to support the local NHS teams and staff who are still doing an incredible job to try and overcome the virus, and look after everyone’s ongoing health needs.”

The Northumberland Street window display was officially unveiled by Dame Jackie Daniel (CEO of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Hugo Fenwick (Store Development Director of Fenwick) as well as Sarah and Libby.

Dame Jackie Daniel commented, “This is a tremendous idea and the perfect platform for everybody to fully acknowledge the children of our NHS staff who themselves have had to understand the situation as best they can, and cope with an enormous amount over the last few months. Their creativity and positivity shines through in every single one of the drawings, and we hope that members of the public will come and safely view their artwork.

“The quilt and fundraising bags are again an absolutely fantastic idea and I must thank the management and creative teams at Fenwick for working with the Trust to deliver this. We can hopefully raise a considerable amount of money for our charities.”

Hugo Fenwick added, “Fenwick is honoured to be partnering with the Trust to create this wonderful patchwork quilt of inspirational children’s art for our Northumberland Street window. Everyone in the region is immensely grateful for the dedication and selflessness of all key workers, especially those in the NHS who have worked so tirelessly on our behalf. Reflecting just a tiny proportion of the many hundreds of paintings sent to the Trust over recent weeks, this vibrant quilt allows us in some small way to recognise the extraordinary work of both the NHS and all key workers across the North East during this crisis.”

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest NHS Trusts in the UK and offers a wide range of specialist, patient-centred, healthcare services to those living in communities across the North East of England. It recently led on the creation of the new NHS Nightingale North East facility in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear.