Sussex craftsman creates ‘lasting thank you’ to NHS

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February 24, 2020

Roy James Martin with his NHS plaque

Sussex craftsman creates ‘lasting thank you’ to NHS

Sussex woodcarver, Roy Martin James, has turned his hand to supporting the NHS by designing an angel-themed ornament.

Six weeks ago, woodcarver Roy James Martin set to work creating a special plaque that would memorialise healthcare workers’ response to the Coronavirus crisis.

The design portrays an NHS ‘angel’ complete with a face mask, and decorated with the distinctive rainbow, and a dove depicting hope. Crafted from Sussex oak sourced from Wenban Smith in Worthing, West Sussex, it could be replicated and sold to raise funds for charity.

“The design elements were inspired by the idea that NHS nurses are ‘angels without faces’,” Roy, who lives in Burgess Hill, explained. “The woodcarving is based on images of NHS staff fighting the virus on the frontline. The idea was to craft something that captures the incredible care and kindness they’ve shown in these tough times.”

As a local tradesman, Roy has felt the effects of the global pandemic. His business has reduced by 50% during lockdown. The plaque project became an opportunity to put his hands to good use for a particularly worthy cause, and Roy has spent more than 300 hours working on it over the past six-weeks. He wishes to pay tribute to John Nicholas ‘Reproduction’, whose exceptional French Polishing skills added the final touches, and his landlord who granted a three-month rent ‘holiday’ for his workshop at Randolphs Farm, Hurstpierpoint.

“I wanted to make the most of this time,” said Roy, who has been honing his craft since he was just 15 years old. “Work is difficult right now and as nice as it is to clap for carers on a Thursday night, I wanted to use my hands and time to create something tangible that showed my appreciation, and hopefully make some money for charity.”

Roy hopes that the plaque will make its way to Downing Street, with Maria Caulfield MP presenting it to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He would like to think the PM could give it to the hospital which cared for him and saved his life, as he battled the virus.

Roy concluded, “If the Prime Minister and possibly Matt Hancock are willing to accept my work and even endorse it, we may have the opportunity to make people smile. The NHS and key workers deserve recognition, I really hope we can give them a lasting Thank You, and this will in the long term benefit worthy Charities.”

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