Cambridge artist designs medals for frontline NHS staff in Covid-19 battle
A Cambridge artist has developed a series of medals which he believes should be given to NHS frontline staff for the blood, sweat and tears they have endured during the Coivd-19 pandemic.
Harry Gray said the medals would be a thank you from the nation to the workers and volunteers who have put their lives on the line to treat patients and help the vulnerable.
Harry, who was behind the Romsey ‘R’ sculpture in Cambridge, said he often hears people saying that the NHS staff deserve a medal, so he is trying to make that a reality.
“Let’s go one step beyond the round of applause and give them something to keep forever," he said.
He has taken inspiration from one of the Nightingale badges that were awarded to nurses at the end of their training at the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital from 1925 until 1992.
Harry said he was aware of the medals after being commissioned to create a series of artworks for a Florence Nightingale Garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. While the flower show has been cancelled, Harry said it inspired him to design a new medal for the frontline NHS staff, carers and volunteers fighting the coronavirus.
"This new design is for everyone who works in the NHS at the time of the coronavirus, from frontline staff to the hospital porters,” he explained.
The prototype medals currently feature different designs, including one which Harry said is an NHS design and others which have a ‘V’ for volunteer or a ‘C’ for carer.
Harry, who was treated at Addenbrooke’s earlier this year after breaking his leg, has contacted Fattorini, a Birmingham company that has been making medals since 1827.
“It is very important that these medals would be totally made in the UK, keeping our craftsmen employed and using the same high quality traditional vitreous enamelling method used in the Nightingale original,” Harry said.
However, funds are needed to pay for the tools and metal stamps to make the prototypes before major sponsors and the public can be approached to help fund production.
Donations can be made at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/harry-gray-3.
More by this authorAndy Veale