Didcot mosaic a towering achievement for community hospital

Two new artworks that hark back to Didcot's power-generating past are helping to enhance a Didcot hospital garden.

Didcot mosaic a towering achievement for community hospital

Two famous Oxfordshire landmarks which disappeared earlier this year have been reborn in a Didcot community hospital garden.

Mention the Didcot power station cooling towers to many Oxfordshire residents and the chances are they will have strong memories of them coming into view on journeys down the A34, or they may have lived locally or worked at the power station.

It is these memories that prompted staff at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to recreate the towers in two intricate and eye-catching murals.

The murals feature animals and wildlife to remind patients of the more rural aspects of the local environment and there’s also doves and a chicken – a special tribute to Gail Castle, a former ward manager at the hospital, who passed away in December 2014.

She drew up plans for the sensory garden with colleagues including Helen Reynolds who explained: “I worked closely with Gail and it is really nice to see reminders of her in the garden and the murals.

“Gail kept chickens and we used to have doves nesting by our office and those have been included in the mural along with other elements to represent local wildlife as well as a butterfly which links to the butterfly dementia scheme.

“The garden is really good for patients who spend time here rehabilitating and some of those people have dementia. There is a circular path which is good for exercise and the overall design means there is plenty for everyone to see and take an interest in which helps with relaxation.”

The mural project was led by local artist Becky Paton who worked closely with patients and staff who, over 10 weeks, completed small circular mini-mosaics on wood circles which were then incorporated into the larger piece. Working this way meant that different pieces of work could be completed safely.

Debbie Moore from the League of Friends said: “Didcot Hospital League of Friends were delighted to fund this project, the mosaics look amazing. This is all due to the generous people of Didcot who support our annual fete, and stall at the Christmas Street Fair every year. Without their help we couldn’t fund projects like this and buy equipment for the hospital. Local people raised money to build  the hospital back in 1934 and have continued ever since to help.

“We are always looking for new members so as to continue our work into the future. You can contact me on 01235 211354 if you are interested.”

Angela Conlan, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Creating with Care Lead, said: “It is wonderful to see another Oxford Health Creating with Care project complete.

“Creating with Care works across all our community hospitals on arts projects for patients and staff to increase wellbeing and enhance the hospital environment as well as to raise awareness of the benefits of arts in healthcare.”

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Published: 23 October 2020