HRH The Duke Of Rothesay Pays A Visit To Leading Medical College For Preview Of Covid-19 Sculpture

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29 Jun 2022

HRH The Duke of Rothesay paid a visit to The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) today to preview a sculpture that will celebrate the tireless work of NHS workers during Covid-19 – the first of its kind in Scotland.

His Royal Highness, who was this week announced as RCSEd’s new patron, met with the leading medical college’s President, Professor Michael Griffin OBE, sculptor Kenny Hunter, and staff and Council members from the College, to view the progress of a poignant sculpture entitled ‘Your next breath’ that pays tribute to the compassion and resilience of healthcare workers during the pandemic.

The artwork is believed to be the first in Scotland to be dedicated to NHS staff who worked through Covid-19 and depicts four life-size figures in scrubs experiencing a moment of reflection at the end of a shift on a Covid hospital ward.

Arriving at the College this afternoon, The Duke of Rothesay viewed the powerful piece, which will be cast in bronze, created by renowned sculpture artist and Professor of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art, Kenny Hunter.

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the RCSEd, said:

It has been a great honour to welcome HRH The Duke of Rothesay to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on his first visit as our new patron, and to mark the unveiling of this poignant sculpture.

While recent years have been particularly challenging for all healthcare workers, I am incredibly proud of the way that colleagues have rapidly adapted and continued to provide vital care throughout the pandemic.

This striking piece of public art which we commissioned Mr Hunter to create pays tribute to those who have given so much during such a globally significant moment in history, whilst reflecting on the tenacity and compassion of NHS workers.

Renowned sculptor and lecturer Kenny Hunter conceptualised his design after spending time with four healthcare workers who were posted on Covid wards during the pandemic.

What emerged from his conversations with the NHS workers was a sense that the memorial should contain a mixture of light and dark to truthfully reflect their experience.

Kenny said: 

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on this important project which has allowed me to consider the mixture of emotions that healthcare workers experienced during such challenging times.

Throughout the development of this sculpture, I was eager to ensure that there was a representation of feelings of not only exhaustion and frustration, but also of camaraderie throughout the NHS at that time.

Above all, I wanted to ensure that the resilience of staff was represented despite all the difficulties and challenges that healthcare workers faced whilst delivering care to those in need.

The memorial was initially modelled in clay before being made into its current resin form and will be cast in bronze later this year.  Its title - “Your next breath” - highlights the impact of the virus on the respiratory system and how the pandemic affects and involves everyone.

Professor Griffin added:

We are delighted to have welcomed our new patron to view the progress of this piece of work, and to celebrate the incredible work of healthcare professionals.

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