Fenland artist paints stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid Covid-19 pandemic

PUBLISHED: 13:50 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:50 19 June 2020

Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward (left) has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward

Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward (left) has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward

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A talented artist from the Fens has put brush to canvas and painted three NHS heroes free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline ForwardLittle Ouse artist Caroline Forward has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward

Caroline Forward of Little Ouse, near Littleport, got the idea from a fellow artist Tom Croft who launched the #portraitsfornhsheroes scheme on Instagram.

She is now one of hundreds if not thousands of artists who are painting portraits of NHS workers for free as a way of acknowledging their efforts on the frontline.

Within minutes of posting her offer of a free portrait on Instagram, Caroline was contacted by Kate, a midwife working in a busy maternity unit in Barnsley.

Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward

Kate told Caroline how difficult it is for mums giving birth at the moment without their nearest and dearest around them.

She described the exhausting impact of working in PPE, the high levels of staff sickness and therefore staff shortages, and the long shifts.

Caroline agreed to do two more portraits and was delighted that her second NHS portrait is of a local nurse Katie, a staff nurse in Coronary Care in Addenbrookes Hospital from Sutton.

Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline ForwardLittle Ouse artist Caroline Forward has painted three stunning NHS hero portraits free of charge amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward

This meant that Caroline was able to deliver the finished portrait in person and to meet Katie outside her home - from two metres away.

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Ms Forward said: “It was very special to be able to actually meet Katie in person.

Little Ouse artist Caroline Forward. Picture: Supplied/Caroline ForwardLittle Ouse artist Caroline Forward. Picture: Supplied/Caroline Forward

“Katie says she tries during this time to keep her patients as calm, comfortable and reassured as possible whilst giving them the treatment they need to get better.

“Being their advocate and being there for them especially when they are at their most vulnerable.

“No visitors can be there so she tries to do as much as she can for their mental health so they don’t feel so alone.”

The third portrait is of a paramedic, Karen, in the West Midlands ambulance service.

Karen moved her four daughters into her brother’s home at the start of lockdown in order to protect them from her potentially bringing covid-19 home with her after work.

Ms Forward added: “The stories of these three amazing NHS workers are similar to many others working across the NHS throughout the country during this pandemic.

“Whilst the portraits are of the individuals, and have been gifted to them by me as a thank you for all they do, they are also painted in gratitude to and recognition of all those who have done so much during covid-19, whose personal sacrifices need to be told and heard.”

To view more of her work, visit: www.carolineforward.co.uk


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