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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall unveils stunning new Roald Dahl installation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

HRH meeting patients

Birmingham Children’s Hospital welcomed Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to its hospital yesterday to unveil a unique stained-glass window installation, featuring some of Roald Dahl’s most iconic characters, specially designed by the world-famous children’s illustrator Sir Quentin Blake.

The charitably-funded project is the brainchild of Felicity Dahl, wife of the late author, who often used to visit the hospital as a child with her father Professor Alphonsus d’Abreu, then Dean of the Medical Faculty. She approached Sir Quentin Blake who was delighted to be involved and generously donated his original designs, which have now been transformed into a stunning series of stained-glass windows – the first-time Sir Quentin’s work or Roald Dahl characters have ever been produced in stained-glass.

The stained-glass windows installation marks the launch of a new hospital-wide arts strategy, which highlights the benefits of bringing the arts into clinical environments to aid patients’ healing and recovery.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity launched a campaign to raise the £234,000 needed to make the windows a reality, which captured the imagination of supporters, including key donors The Roald Dahl Story Company and Roald Dahl’s family. Once the money was raised, work was able to start and the final installation is now housed inside Waterfall House, a state-of-the-art building, which is home to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s world-class Children’s Cancer Centre and the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre for children. The main window sits in the entrance to Waterfall House, while a series of nine smaller interior windows are situated along the building’s ground floor corridor.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was invited to the hospital to unveil the new installation. Upon her arrival, she was greeted by Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, and was able to get a closer look at all of the windows, which feature favourite Roald Dahl characters that every child and parent will instantly recognise, including The BFG, The Enormous Crocodile and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, plus Matilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was also able to meet patients, project donors, as well as staff members, including Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s four Roald Dahl Nurses who specialise in rare diseases. These nurses are funded by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity of which The Duchess is Patron. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was then invited to unveil a commemorative plaque.

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Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was so special to have Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall join us today to unveil our stunning new windows. The beautiful designs, based on Roald Dahl’s best known stories, will transform the environment for the hundreds of children and young people who visit our hospital every day, impacting on their healing and overall sense of well-being.

“We’re so thankful to the force of nature that is Felicity Dahl, plus Sir Quentin Blake and all of our donors for making this project a reality, and of course to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall for sharing in such an important moment in our history.”

Felicity Dahl, said: “When I first thought about this project, I really wanted the magic of Roald’s much-loved characters to comfort the brave young patients and their families arriving at the hospital, and provide some distraction to why they are visiting, putting their minds at ease. I am so thrilled with the magnificent windows, they are absolutely stunning.”

The new stained-glass windows at Birmingham Children’s Hospital were created by leading glass art specialist Andrew Moor, working with Proto Glass Studios.

For more information about Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, visit: https://www.bch.org.uk/.

Photo Credit: Shaun Fellows from Shine Pix Ltd.