'Monumental' sculpture installed at Norfolk hospital for families and staff
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A large tree sculpture has been installed at a Norfolk hospital as a place for commemoration and to help bring joy to patients and staff on the "most difficult days.".
The 15ft tall stainless steel 'Tree of Life' was created by Ashill-based artist Mark Reed and was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn on Saturday, March 12, following 19 months of work.
It was commissioned by the King's Lynn Hospitals' League of Friends just before the pandemic after its palliative care facilitator, Heike Schaefer, contacted the artist about wanting to provide a space in the hospital's memorial garden where people can 'sit and contemplate'.
The structure been since made its way from Ashill, near Watton, to the QEH.
The tree was transported by Carter Haulage & Storage (NFK) Ltd with help from Norfolk and Suffolk police officers, who escorted the wide load through Swaffham, along the A47 and through the Hardwick Roundabout.
And now Mr Reed hopes the tree will provide a "place for commemoration and a space for quiet reflection and even joy amongst our most difficult days".
His wife Hannah said the hospital is also significant for the family as it is where Mr Reed's father died following his battle with cancer, and where the couple's first child was born.
She said: "The whole piece itself has taken longer, but it's also really poignant because in the meantime all the people who we've been in discussion with at the hospital, and other NHS hospitals, have batted through Covid - which has been so difficult for everybody."
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The 4.5 metre by 4.9 metre tree has 2,000 shimmering detachable leaves which can be engraved with personal messages and memories.
Mr Reed was also helped in the project by colleagues Stacey Smith, Lilith Elder, Charlie Dicker and Michael Schmoelz.
Mrs Reed said: "The idea is over time that it will build up and people can read all the things within it."
She said the QEH plans to hold a formal unveiling of the sculpture at the end of the month.
And forms will be made available at the QEH's Macmillan Unit for those who would like to have their messages engraved on the leaves. Funds raised will go to its cancer services charitable fund.