Edinburgh will be home to Scotland's first memorial to NHS covid heroes

The first sculpture honouring Scotland’s heroic NHS workers is to be erected in Edinburgh.

By Stephen Wilkie
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 4:45 pm

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The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) has appointed renowned Scottish sculptor, Kenny Hunter, to create a memorial which will be situated in the grounds of the College’s Nicolson Street headquarters.

The sculpture, which will include four life-size figures, is set to be completed by summer 2022.

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Frontline NHS workers will be commemorated in the memorial sculpture.

While conceptualising the design, Kenny Hunter spoke with a variety of people who spent time working on Covid wards over the last fifteen months to help inspire his work.

Kenny said: “As a native of Edinburgh, I am proud to have the opportunity to work on this important project. During the development stages I have spoken with frontline staff and built up a picture of what it has been like to work through the pandemic.

“Through these discussions a contrasting picture of light and dark has emerged – of exhaustion and frustration - but also pride in their work and a strong sense of camaraderie.

The artist at work: Kenny Hunter with a model of one of his proposed sculptures

“I am eager that the committed and collective effort of so many healthcare professionals comes through in the final design of the sculpture.”

The project will take around a year to complete from the initial planning phase to the unveiling. Creating the sculpture in clay before it is cast in bronze itself will take around four months.

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the RCSEd, said: “The pandemic has presented us with one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced, and tragically, many healthcare workers have lost their lives as a result of working on the frontline to save the lives of others.

“We felt it was important to honour the lost lives of our colleagues and to celebrate the incredible work of healthcare professionals. I believe this sculpture will serve as a poignant tribute to those we have lost and will ensure their memory lives on for many years to come.”

Kenny is an award-winning sculptor and also a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art. Other examples of his work can mainly be found in Glasgow and London as well as at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile.

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