A heatwave in a hospital with no visitors doesn’t sound appealing – but support from the community and the Creating with Care programme made sure that Wallingford Community Hospital had a true summer fete feeling last week.

A summer concert delighted both patients and staff on Saturday June 26. Organised by the Creating with Care programme, Mary Lou Revue entertained with song and dance – from a safe singing distance and audience distancing socially.

Click to watch Mary Lou Revue perform Let there love!

“Patients could watch and listen in the garden or stay in their bays or in the day room with windows open. Everyone was treated to strawberries and cream and elderflower squash,” said nursing associate Teresa Harries.

She added: “The patients enjoy the gardens throughout the year, and we encourage them to sit out as much as possible. We are lucky that the League of Friends keep the gardens looking beautiful all year round.”

Arts co-ordinator and Creating with Care lead Angela Conlan is planning summer concerts for community hospitals in Witney and Abingdon, too. Social distancing – and singing distancing – is followed in all events. Mary Lou Revue, formed by Marie-Louise Flexen and Steve Skinley, has been artists in residence at the Witney Community Hospital since last summer. Supported by a grant from Arts Council England, they have been providing what they call ‘musical refreshments’ in all Oxford Health’s community hospitals. With the lockdown and the no visitor policy, Angela and her team have been coming up with new ways to entertain patients and staff, and alleviate boredom and stress.

“On Saturday we could see how much this is needed,” said Angela. “It really lifted people’s spirit.”

Ward manager Stephanie Shipway enjoyed her whippy.

Earlier in the week, as the temperatures hit the 30s, all staff at the hospital were treated to free ice cream by John’s Whippy from Didcot.

“To say this lifted everyone’s sprits is an understatement! A big thank you to John from everyone at Wallingford Community Hospital!” said ward manager Stephanie Shipway.