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Giant hospital mural is a treasure trove of delights

27 February 2018

Health Care

Pirates, rescue helicopters, divers and buried treasure are all making paediatric outpatients at Southend University Hospital a more welcoming and exciting place to visit for youngsters.

They all feature in an amazing nautical themed mural. It's a design of epic proportions that takes over three walls, with the first wall featuring a pirate scene that would do any budding Jack Sparrow proud, a more traditional seaside beach theme full to the brim of play and activity, and thirdly an atmospheric sea rescue at night, complete with divers, a lighthouse and even a UFO!

It was all brought to life one brushstroke at a time by the talented Richard Ashton, 63 from Rayleigh, who spent ten weekends bringing the vision of the paediatric unit to life.

Richard, a grandfather of four, said: "All in all it took about 130 hours to create and is the first mural for children that I've produced, I wanted to create something visually interesting after talks with the staff and I'm pleased with the end result, but even more pleased to hear about the joy it is creating. Thematically, each frame is about seeking treasure in a different visual way, whether that be on a pirate ship, on a traditional beach scene or under the sea."

And to complete the captivating seaside effect consultant doors have been transformed to resemble beach huts, helping ensuring that it is a far more inviting place for children to visit.

Alison Davis, Paediatric Outpatients Manager, said:" The end result is truly amazing; it's been really exciting to see it come to life each passing weekend. Richard has created something beyond our wildest dreams and his design is already making a massive impact."

NR 10b (2018)

A quiz related to the mural encouraging parents and children to spot things and count items within the giant art work is already proving to be a huge hit.

Alison added: "In a way it helps transport them into the picture. Many of the children and families that attend our department do so on a regular basis and can be here for a long time, so we wanted to create some work that grabbed and kept their attention.

"I think the magic in Richard's work is that you spot something new and different each and every time you look at it. It's great it is accessible and appeals to children of all ages, from real youngsters to teens. And because of that they all feel they own a part of it, the mural is theirs."

No stranger to creating murals at the hospital, Richard previously produced a mural for the Day Assessment Unit that harked back to the Southend seafront of yesteryear, once again with the seaside acting as his artistic muse.

NR 10c (2018)