Aylesbury Rainbow sculpture to honour key workers during Coronavirus pandemic moves step closer to reality

A special local tribute to the incredible work of our NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic is one step closer to reality.
An artists impression of the rainbow sculptureAn artists impression of the rainbow sculpture
An artists impression of the rainbow sculpture

Plans to put up a rainbow sculpture outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital as a thank you to key workers have been in the pipeline for months.

Funds are being raised for the artwork — which also pays tribute to the “resilience and community spirit” shown by the people of Buckinghamshire during the pandemic — as part of the Nightingale Rainbow Appeal.

Now the mural is one step closer to being installed after Buckinghamshire Council approved plans to add the sculpture on the hospital’s roundabout next to the A&E car park.

A statement from the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity read: “The Covid-19 crisis has had a significant impact on the residents of Buckinghamshire.

“At a stroke, normal life stopped and family life changed. Furloughed families worried about their future, newly working from home families often struggled to manage work and childcare.

People who were shielding had to stay at home and rely on strangers to bring them their food and medicine. The weeks of lockdown were positive for some and negative for others. They were different for everyone.

“Yet through the crisis, the rainbow, clap for carers and the NHS were symbols of hope.

“The crisis had particular relevance to Florence Nightingale Hospice and Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The Hospice had to close for visitors and staff had to wear full PPE when supporting patients.

“The sensitive, delicate and empathetic relationships between nurses and families had to change as more contact was made by phone and via the internet, and in-person contact became more difficult.

“Hospice nurses worked more closely with the hospital to manage patients and the Hospice’s bereavement team were used to call every family bereaved at the Hospital.

“We want to combine our experience of engaging people through the crisis, with the county-wide expressions of support for the NHS by erecting a permanent rainbow arch.”

The installation of the rainbow comes as part fundraising efforts to support Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Charitable Fund.

Now planning permission has been granted, the FNHC will ask local residents to buy a tile on the rainbow for a donation of £20, with profits to be split between the two charities.

The FNHC’s statement continued: “This public appeal is an incredibly important way of engaging a very large number of local residents in the artwork.

“Owning a bit of Nightingale’s rainbow is a simple and poignant way to mark the crisis.

“Schools or local businesses will be able to ‘buy a rainbow’ which can be displayed at their location and will be linked to the main commemorative piece at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

“In this way the community will come together in a meaningful way to mark the greatest upheaval in Buckinghamshire for decades.”

More information about how to donate to the fundraising appeal can be found here https://www.fnhospice.org.uk/help-us/nightingales-rainbow/about-nightingales-rainbow/It is hoped work can start on the structure’s installation after the winter with the artwork firmly in place by the end of spring 2021.