Dawn Crothers Paints a Smile on Belfast Children's Hospital

The fine artist has brightened up the medical institution's Cancer and Haematology Unit with a series of donated works

Young patients benefitted by the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity are now able to enjoy some cheerful sights on the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children’s Cancer and Haematology Unit thanks to a generous donation made by Belfast artist Dawn Crothers and Holywood-based Whalley Fine Art.

This month a busy corridor within the ward has been given a burst of colour through a series of original oil paintings donated by Crothers to the charity. At a combined value of around £10,000, the donation includes three oil-on-canvas paintings featuring brightly coloured snails – a favourite of Dawn’s – entitled '35 Snails,' 'Beatrice the Snail' and 'The Ladybird Snail', in addition to a piece featuring a multi-coloured elephant entitled 'Elephant on Parade'.

'Following the news that the unit was being refurbished last Christmas, I felt the need to come forward and help in some way,' said Crothers. 'Being a mum to a three year old and expecting my second child in February, I felt touched by the work that the charity does for children requiring much needed treatment and care, and I felt that the vibrant colours in my pieces would brighten up the new ward.'

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Having gained popularity for her study of snails through oil-on-canvas nearly eight years ago, Dawn has exhibited her pieces in New York and London as well as having held numerous solo exhibitions at her family gallery, Whalley Fine Art, in Holywood. Using thick-textured oil paint to produce her work, admirers are drawn to the snails’ vibrant colours and Crothers' abstract sensibilities.

'Children just love the colour and texture of my pieces, and that’s what my work is all about,' she added. 'Following the response from children and their families upon seeing the work lined up down the corridor, I have been inspired to paint more and help other children’s charities nationwide.'

Speaking on behalf of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, Jacqueline Wilkinson said: 'We are delighted by the generous contribution made by Dawn and Stephen from Whalley Fine Art to the ward. Going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment is a difficult time for young people and their families, and these gorgeous pieces of art help to make visits to the ward a bit more cheerful.'

A strong believer in the healing power of art, Stephen Whalley said: 'A massive benefit of surrounding yourself with art is the feel-good factor it promotes. Looking at the right piece can lift the mood and bring smiles to faces – an essential service required on the Children’s Cancer and Haematology Ward.

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'Dawn and I both hope that this work touches the hearts of many that unfortunately have to go through the doors of the unit'

In addition to her donated works which will remain on display at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Crothers will also feature one of her newest painting images, 'Partridge in a Pear Tree' on this year's Children’s Cancer Unit Charity Christmas card, available for purchase by email at jacqueline@childrenscancerunit.com, with proceeds going to the charity.

The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity has helped hundreds of children suffering from cancer and blood disorders across Northern Ireland since it was set up in April 1984. For further information visit www.childrenscancerunit.com or follow the charity on Facebook.