Sculptor designs medal to honour those helping local hospital through pandemic

The COVID Star People’s Medal with Harry Gray’s design for the badge

AROUND 5,000 people who are helping Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals cope with the coronavirus pandemic are to receive medals in thanks for their exceptional efforts.

In September, the hospitals’ NHS trust will present staff members, temporary workers and volunteers with the COVID Star People’s Medal.

The medal was designed by sculptor Harry Gray, creator of the Battle of Britain Memorial at Dover, to honour health service staff, care workers and others who have been on the coronavirus frontline for the past 18 months.

Harry decided to produce the medal after being treated in hospital in March 2020, just before the first national lockdown. He received excellent care but could see the strain being put on NHS staff.

He often heard the phrase “they deserve a medal” directed at the hospital staff so decided to design one for them.

The Ashford and St Peter’s chief operating officer, James Thomas, saw the medal on Harry’s website when he was looking for ways to honour those who are coping with the pandemic. He suggested the trust order 5,000, to accompany the yearbooks that are also being presented to remind colleagues of the extraordinary times they have lived through.

The Nightingale Badge of St Thomas’ Hospital

Trust chief executive Suzanne Rankin said: “Our Team ASPH have worked incredibly hard and continue to go above and beyond to provide exceptional care for our patients throughout such an unprecedented time.

“Despite the difficulties faced, they have really come together to support one another and quickly adapted to the new ways of working. They have also played a part in clinical research trials to aid global and national learning of treatments, as well as supporting giving over 25,000 vaccinations to health and social care colleagues.

“My board colleagues and I wanted to give each and every colleague a permanent memento to keep for years to come, to remind them of their incredible achievements throughout this period and reflect on the challenges we faced together.”

The Covid Star is in the shape of the Maltese Cross, a familiar and ancient motif used by organisations including St John Ambulance and the Nightingale Badge of St Thomas’ Hospital in London, which is a symbol of nursing excellence.

The St John Ambulance Maltese Cross badge

The design has a subtle reference to the COVID-19 molecule – a scalloped rim that represents the spiked surface of the virus. The C in the centre is for both the NHS and care workers.

The medals, in the form of a badge that can be pinned to uniforms, are being made from glass and enamel by jewellery specialists Thomas Fattorini Ltd in Birmingham. Established in 1827, the firm is famous for making prestigious Nurse and Doctor badges.

To commemorate the award of the medal and yearbook, the NHS trust will be holding a socially distanced event later this year to honour and celebrate the contributions of each member of the team.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorial Team