'Monumental' sculpture installed at Norfolk hospital for families and staff

Mark Reed with his 'Tree of Life' sculpture, transported to King's Lynn hospital.

Mark Reed with his 'Tree of Life' sculpture, which was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - 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.

Mark Reed with his 'Tree of Life' sculpture.

Sculptor Mark Reed created a stainless steel tree which will carry thousands of messages from patients and family members at the QEH. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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 sculpture was transported to King's Lynn with police escort. Picture: Sarah

The tree sculpture was transported to King's Lynn with police escort.Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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.

Norfolk and Suffolk Police helped transport the sculpture to the QEH.

Norfolk and Suffolk Police helped transport the sculpture to the QEH. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The tree sculpture was transported to King's Lynn with police escort.

The tree sculpture was transported to King's Lynn with police escort. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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.

Mark Reed and his wife Hannah and boys Fin, Arthur, Josh and Oscar with his 'Tree of Life' sculptur

Mark Reed and his wife Hannah and boys Fin, Arthur, Josh and Oscar with his 'Tree of Life' sculpture. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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."

Most Read

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.

Mark Reed's 'Tree of Life' sculpture is now making it's way to Kings Lynn hospital. L-R Hannah and

Mark Reed's 'Tree of Life' sculpture is now at the QEH in King's Lynn. Pictured left to right: Hannah and Mark Reed, Stacey Smith, Lilith Elder, Charlie Dicker. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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.

The tree has 2,000 detachable leaves which can be engraved.

The tree has 2,000 detachable leaves which can be engraved. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mark Reed's 'Tree of Life' sculpture with NHS engraving. Picture: Sarah

Mark Reed's 'Tree of Life' sculpture with NHS engraving. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mark Reed's 'Tree of Life' sculpture is now making it's way to Kings Lynn hospital. Picture: Sarah

Mark Reed's 'Tree of Life' sculpture which has various creatures in its bark. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown