This week has been a bit different in our hospitals.

We've been delighted to welcome the amazing artist, Harriet Riddell - who incredibly uses a bicycle and a sewing machine to create her work!

Poet, Pat Winslow, also wowed staff from a diverse range of hospital roles through her creative conversations with them, designed to produce unique works of poetry.

It's all part of a national arts project, called Our National Health Stories, marking the 75th anniversary of the NHS this year.

Our Trust and charity have been taking part alongside 18 other hospital Trusts  - all using innovative artforms to share stories from their NHS teams.

Harriet started off at the Horton General, where staff took a moment in their breaks to hop on a bicycle that powers a sewing machine!

Harriet chats to them the whole way through, skilfully drawing out their stories of working in the NHS whilst simultaneously creating a portrait through stitching, that captures the essence and image of the individual in just a few minutes.

It really is quite a sight, bringing joy and laughter to staff in the hospitals and boosting morale for all involved.

As part of the project, Harriet and Pat has also visited the John Radcliffe, Churchill and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, gifting staff with this special experience that will never be forgotten. The smiles were infectious.

Our Trust and Charity Arts Lead, Ruth Charity, has been working hard to make it all possible and said: "It is such a surprising sight to see in a hospital, so even before the first stitch has been sewn, and the first word has been written,  people are smiling. And really that's needed right now.

“The bizarreness of the situation breaks down all barriers and we see our hospital staff opening up and sharing stories of why they work in the NHS and what it means to them."

"Harriet and Pat incorporate the words and thoughts of NHS staff into their incredible creations, making something both meaningful and uplifting.” 

Ruth added: "Marking the NHS's 75th is important, and taking a few moments to listen to staff, really hear them, and to make them smile as well, is really special. It's been a week that I and all those involved won't forget."

The last stop was the John Radcliffe, where Noel, who works in estates, was also filmed having his portrait stitched – we think you’ll agree it looks amazing!

Special thanks to all the staff across Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who took part, to Pat and Harriet for their amazing skills and to Ruth and the Our National Health Stories team for making it all happen.

A thank you also to the Arts Council for their generous funding of the UK-wide Our National Heath Stories project – and you can see all the creations from each Trust on their website 

Bringing art and music into our hospitals through our dedicated Artlink Programme is so uplifting for staff and patients, and it is your kind support that makes so many projects like this possible.   Thank you.