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Renowned author and illustrator paints mural for paediatric patients

James Mayhew, renowned local children’s author and illustrator, has completed a mural in West Suffolk Hospital’s newly renovated paediatric X-ray room to help soothe children receiving tests.

On Saturday, 11 and Sunday, 12 November, James completed the mural as a donation to the hospital after being approached by radiographer, Ed Kirkham.

Ed said: “Following the renovation of our paediatric X-ray room which features a brand-new X-ray machine, we approached James, who we knew was a renowned children’s illustrator. We were over the moon when James agreed to do the mural as donation to the hospital, and we couldn’t be happier with the result. We know that this mural will help so many of our young patients.”

The artwork features a fairy tale theme based on local folklore, such as the medieval tale of the green children of Woolpit, as well as an ode to Bury St Edmunds and the Suffolk landscape.

James, who lives in Bungay, Suffolk, has published numerous books, such as the popular children’s ‘Katie’ series, which has been shown at the National Gallery in London and all over the world. For his work, James has won awards and prizes, such as the New York Times Book Illustration Award.

James is a passionate ambassador of art, music and culture for children, and has spoken, educated and performed internationally. James is also a campaigner for children’s rights to access the arts and is an adviser to Action for Children’s Arts and a patron of art education charity, Magic Lantern.

This is not the first time James has completed a mural for charity, having done so before in schools, however, this is the first time he has completed one in a hospital.

James said: “I am extraordinarily passionate about using art to help children, and as someone who has received wonderful NHS care throughout my life, I wanted to give something back that will help improve the experience these children have as they undergo tests and treatment at the West Suffolk Hospital. I hope it will calm children’s nerves and keep them distracted during the experience, which many may find scary and distressing.”

My WiSH Charity, which fundraises to enhance care at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, facilitated James coming to the West Suffolk Hospital over the weekend to complete the mural.

Sue Smith, head of fundraising for My WiSH Charity, said “We were delighted when we learned that James would be coming to complete a mural at the newly kitted-out paediatric X-ray room at the West Suffolk Hospital. The quality of his work is tremendous, and we were delighted by his passion for using art to help children. We thank James for his time and contribution to the hospital, which I’m sure will be appreciated for many years to come.”

James Mayhew and WSFT staff

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