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‘The real heroes are on the frontline’ - Artists’ ‘amazing’ portraits honour for NHS workers

PUBLISHED: 09:54 12 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 12 July 2020

Kyle Ball with Anna Hales, left, and Natalie Weeds, right, after he painted their portraits to honour their work for the NHS at James Paget University Hospital. Credit: Jordon Thomas Sendall

Kyle Ball with Anna Hales, left, and Natalie Weeds, right, after he painted their portraits to honour their work for the NHS at James Paget University Hospital. Credit: Jordon Thomas Sendall

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A Great Yarmouth artist has honoured two James Paget University Hospital staff members by joining in with a project to honour their heroics.

Kyle Ball's portrait of NHS worker, Natalie Weeds. Credit: Jordon Thomas SendallKyle Ball's portrait of NHS worker, Natalie Weeds. Credit: Jordon Thomas Sendall

Kyle Ball was inspired to show his support of local NHS heroes for all their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Ball, 29, was busy with commissions for pet portraits before the lockdown began in March. However, once lockdown began, his workload decreased.

“At the start, there was a lot of uncertainty,” he said.

“Not only for artists but for society in general. I began thinking about what could I do, but being in lockdown, I felt a little powerless.”

Kyle Ball's portrait of Anna Hales. Credit: Jordon Thomas SendallKyle Ball's portrait of Anna Hales. Credit: Jordon Thomas Sendall

While Kyle was speaking with other artists on Instagram, the hashtag #PortraitsForNHSHeroes started trending.

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The trend was started by the British artist Tom Croft. In a video posted on April 4, Mr Croft said how portraits used to be a status symbol to celebrate a particular person for their achievements.

He added: “It occurs to me that the real heroes of today are working on the frontline.”

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Mr Croft began #PortraitsForNHSHeroes as a way of giving thanks and encouraged other artists to get involved. As of writing, the hashtag has had over 1,200 posts.

After seeing the Instagram video, Mr Ball was inspired and felt this would be a great way to show his appreciation.

“I think a lot of key workers are unsung heroes and should be commended for all their hard work,” he said.

“I also knew I wanted to select local NHS staff because many people in the town seem forgotten about on a national level.”

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Mr Ball posted on social media that he was looking for two local NHS workers and would select the first two received.

The selected candidates would be painted and received their portraits for free.

His subjects, Natalie Weeds and Anna Hales, were delighted with the results.

Natalie has been a healthcare assistant at the hospital since 2004. She said: “I never thought I’d have my portrait painted. This is a great bit of light relief after the stress and strain from the last few months.”

Anna, from Ormesby, has been at the hospital for 23 years. She said: “I think this is a pretty amazing thing Kyle has done in the present circumstances. It’s brought a bit of joy to everyone.”


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