Oh we do like to be beside the seaside

A warm - and very colourful – welcome now greets young patients coming into The Great North Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Local artist Viv Aves has transformed what was a plain corridor wall near to the entrance of ward 1A, a paediatric medicine ward which also cares for children with renal and gastroenterology problems, into a crescendo of colour.

A seaside theme now adorns the area offering a welcome distraction for patients, particularly younger children who might be quite distressed when coming in for their treatment.

It’s the first time Viv has tackled a project of this size and she has divided her time between her job as a science tutor and her favourite hobby.

“I’ve always been into art but really got into painting when I left full time teaching around ten years ago,” she said.

“The hospital got in touch after seeing some of my paintings for the North East Art Collective and it’s been really great to work on the mural which I started in July.

“It’s been a first for me in many ways – it’s certainly the biggest canvas I’ve ever worked on, it was curved and I also working on a busy hospital ward, whereas I’m used to peace and quiet at home!”

It’s now hoped Viv’s skills can be used elsewhere to brighten up other parts of the ward.

Play specialist Tracey Gothard added: “We do see a lot of children, some of whom have long-term conditions or are terminally ill, so it’s really important that we get the environment right.

“Our families aren’t just local – they’re from across the country – so we wanted our ward to be warm and welcoming and to make an impact. The mural was so much more than we expected and the feedback we’ve already had from parents has been great.

“We’ve also found the designs are a welcome distraction, particularly for our younger patients who might be quite distressed when they come in for treatment, and they’re spending time finding the different animals and objects on the mural. Viv’s done a fantastic job.”


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