Suffolk illustrator paints mural for children at West Suffolk Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital staff members and James Mayhew in front of the muralWest Suffolk Hospital

An award-winning children’s author and illustrator has completed a mural at a hospital’s paediatric X-ray room.

Local artist James Mayhew painted the fairy tale- themed mural at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.


Mr Mayhew, who has written or illustrated the Katie and Gaspard The Fox books, said he hoped the mural “will calm children’s nerves”.

Radiographer Ed Kirkham said: “We know that this mural will help so many of our young patients.”

James Mayhew painting the mural at West Suffolk Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital

Mr Mayhew, who grew up in the Suffolk village of Blundeston, is the writer behind the Katie series and illustrated Zeb Soanes’ Gaspard books.

He said all of his murals had different themes, relating to the location’s heritage or culture, and it took “many months” to decide on this particular piece.

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“We all agreed on something linking to Bury St Edmunds and Suffolk generally,” he continued, with the finished mural depicting many aspects of local folklore.

“We have the wolf of St Edmund; Cap-o’-Rushes, which is a Suffolk variant of the Cinderella story; the Green Children of Woolpit; Tom Tit Tot, which is a variant of Rumpelstiltskin; the Dragon of Bures; and finally the Merman of Orford.”

Part of the mural at West Suffolk Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital

Mr Mayhew is an adviser to Action for Children’s Arts, who campaign for children’s rights to access the arts, and a patron of Magic Lantern, an educational charity that delivers art workshops in schools nationally.

“I am extraordinarily passionate about using art to help children, and as someone who has received wonderful NHS care throughout my life, I wanted to give something back that will help improve the experience these children have as they undergo tests and treatment,” he said.

Mr Kirkham said: “Following the renovation of our paediatric X-ray room, we approached James, who we knew was a renowned children’s illustrator.

“We were over the moon when James agreed to do the mural as donation to the hospital, and we couldn’t be happier with the result.”

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