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Staff cycle to raise funds for charity art print

A trio of staff at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) have cycled 66km to fundraise for a new piece of artwork commemorating the work of NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Taylor, Laura Marten and Craig Bayliss cycled the distance - more than the length of a marathon - to raise money for The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Charity, which exists to support NHS patients, their families and carers, as well as provide specialist training, equipment and knowledge to staff at ROH, and Art4Charity, which supports local charities including Acorns Hospice Selly Oak.

Kevin and Craig are part of the Blitz Team, which helps keeps the hospital clean 24-hours a day, seven days a week and Laura is a nurse on Ward 12, which was a designated ward for COVID-19 patients at the height of the pandemic.

Kev and team resized

Kevin, Craig and Laura with Chief Executive Jo Williams, Professor Paul Cadman and governor Professor Petro Nicolaides (above)

The group fundraised to purchase the 'Forward in Unity' print to display at the hospital. The print depicts the city’s NHS and front line workers fighting back against the virus.

It was created by Gent 48, a world-renowned Birmingham graffiti artist, to commemorate the selfless work of the NHS and frontline workers during the pandemic.

Kevin said: "When I saw the artwork on Twitter and its meaning, I thought how nice it would be to have a copy for our Trust and to thank our colleagues for all their hard work during and after COVID-19.  

"I contacted Professor Petro Nicolaides (a governor at ROH) with my thought, and he put me in touch with Professor Paul Cadman, the chair of Art4Charity who were backing the mural.

"I decided on doing 60km as I planned to do it on the weekend of my 60th birthday at the end of January but it was pushed back. I mentioned it to Laura and Craig who are both keen cyclists and they jumped at the idea as Laura works on Ward 12 which along with Ward 10 was our main COVID unit.

"I had spent 14 months working with Craig on nights so we both knew first hand how tough it had been at the peak of the pandemic and throughout."

Forward in Unity mural Birmingham

The Forward in Unity mural in Digbeth (above)

The route took in several Birmingham landmarks, including the Forward in Unity mural in Digbeth.

The team raised just under £1000 to purchase the print. Any remaining money will be used to support patients and staff at ROH. It was officially handed over to Jo Williams, Chief Executive of ROH on Thursday 13 May and is displayed outside Café Royale, the hospital’s restaurant.