Students paint safari scene to brighten up children’s hospital

Students Lydia, Felix, Jamie and Jasmine with staff at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital
Students Lydia, Felix, Jamie and Jasmine with staff at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital

A vibrant animal scene inspired by an Alfriston zoo has been painted on the wall by Sussex students at the Royal Alexandra’s Children’s Hospital in Brighton.

Four art students – Lydia, Felix, Jamie and Jasmine – from Sussex Downs College visited Drusillas Park to seek inspiration for the safari scene.

The safari scene at the Royal Alex

The safari scene at the Royal Alex

Commissioned by the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity – the charity arm of the hospital – the idea was to brighten up the Critical Care Ward, which treats sick babies and children in Sussex.

It took the students six days to create the colourful piece which hospital staff said has filled the space with character to become a real talking point.

Student Jamie Hildick-Smith said: “It’s been a great experience and a lot of fun to work with Rockinghorse and the Alex on this project. It is so rewarding creating a mural that has received so much positive feedback and support, and all for a great cause.”

Making the most of the space between the ceiling and floor, the bottom half of the mural features a selection of origami style animals set within geometric and abstract shapes.

Meerkats appear in the mural

Meerkats appear in the mural

The paintwork on the lower half of the mural has been mixed with sand to create a textural finish so patients can feel the safari scene as well as enjoying it visually.

Janet Lee, children’s critical care practitioner at the hospital, said: “The mural has really brightened up the corridor in Children’s Critical Care. Children and families usually enter the ward for the first time along that corridor, and it is a warm, friendly start to their stay with us. The bright, bold geometric designs at the bottom of the mural are perfect for babies and toddlers to explore.”

Cassie Poland, director and head of marketing at Drusillas Park, said: “Rockinghorse is currently our Charity of the Year so we were happy to welcome the students into the zoo for inspiration to support this project, and ultimately brighten up the hospital ward. The final piece looks fantastic; I particularly love the baby ring-tailed lemur who is hanging on to its mother in the tree.”

To find out more about Drusillas Charity of the year, visit: www.drusillas.co.uk/our-charity-of-the-year