Sick Kids looks on the bright side with new murals

Maiya Sutherland, three, casts her eye over Jack Henderson's montage
Maiya Sutherland, three, casts her eye over Jack Henderson's montage
Have your say

A GROUP of elephants and piglets playing football on 
Portobello beach, a zebra sporting a pair of blue goggles and a rhinoceros crossing the Forth Road Bridge on a bike.

These are just a few of the images now brightening up the front entrance to the Sick Kids hospital after two colourful murals were officially unveiled today.

Artist Emily Campbell was commissioned by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF) in the summer to produce the works with the help of artistic schoolboy Jack Henderson, who became an internet star after his drawings raised thousands for the charity.

She consulted with children, parents and staff at the hospital about what they would like included in the two “LED 
lightboxes”, which now take pride of place inside the entrance foyer.

The 45-year-old photographed a number of Edinburgh landmarks, including the Castle and Princes Street Gardens, which formed part of one of the murals.

The second mural was made up of around 60 of Jack’s drawings, from which Emily created a montage after meeting the seven-year-old to discuss which pieces he wanted to include.

Jack, who recently relocated from the family home in Prestonpans, East Lothian, to San Francisco after his father, Ed, landed a new job, said: “It was really cool for another artist to use my drawings to make a big giant mural, and to see a lot of my pictures joined up to make one big picture.”

Jack’s grandparents, Liz and Eddie Henderson, who live in Portobello, were due to attend the official unveiling of the murals at the Sick Kids today.

Emily, a mother-of-three who lives in Cambridge, said the artwork was “a real mixture of fantasy and reality”.

“The photographs of the local area were combined with the kind of things the kids like to see in images,” she said.

“It’s about trying to brighten the entrance up and distract the children from the sorts of things they are going to have to deal with.”

Emily spent around two months working on the murals, which are each three metres long.

Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the SKFF, said: “We had murals at the front entrance before, which had been there for several years, but it’s good to have a change from time to time. We particularly wanted something to brighten up the area more. The new murals are lightbox murals, so they have a back light.

“These murals will be a lovely, bright entrance for children and parents alike.

“I’m delighted that children were involved in both murals.”