Using words of thanks shared by local people with Sue Ryder Nurses, national healthcare charity Sue Ryder has created a stunning colourful mural of gratitude to their nurses in the region, which was unveiled on 24th May.
Painted onto the side of The Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading, the mural includes heart-warming words and phrases shared by patients and their families.
The mural, which will remain on The Oracle throughout the summer, has been commissioned as Sue Ryder shares new data outlining the scale of palliative care provided by their nurses and care teams across Reading, Newbury, Wokingham and South Oxfordshire.
In 2022 alone, Sue Ryder Nurses delivered their expert and compassionate care across 4,105 shifts in the Sue Ryder hospice in Reading and 16,410 visits to people’s homes, care homes and hospitals across the region.
And it’s been a busy start to the year, as initial data from the first three months of 2023 show Sue Ryder Nurses in West Berkshire have already carried out 62% more appointments January to March this year – while their colleagues at the Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire have already cared for 15% more patients than in the same period in 2022.
It is a trend which holds no surprise for Sue Ryder, after the palliative care charity’s own research found 245,000 people in England are expected to receive palliative care in the coming year, with this figure expected to increase by 55% to 379,000 people per year by 2030/31.
Whilst the numbers show the extensive scale of Sue Ryder’s presence in the region and the increasing need for its expert and compassionate care, the mural has been created to convey the heartfelt thanks shared with Sue Ryder Nurses, who local people describe as the ‘steady hand’ who ‘made me feel safe’ during what can be the most difficult time of their lives.
Forming part of the We Are Sue Ryder campaign, which celebrates the lasting impact palliative care nurses can have on patients and their loved ones, Sue Ryder is encouraging people to visit the mural, read the words and support the charity so their care teams can continue to be there when it matters.
The colourful and beautiful design has been created by local Oxfordshire artist, Saroj Patel. Known for her organic and bright artwork, Saroj’s mural features words such as ‘compassion,’ ‘kindness’, ‘devotion’ and’ selfless’, all words used to describe the Sue Ryder Nurses by the relatives of patients who Sue Ryder cared for at the end of their life.
The mural also shows how the 73 Sue Ryder Nurses working across the area are recognised for treating loved ones with ‘dignity and respect’ and support families ‘through day and night’.
Sue Ryder provides a range of services across Berkshire and South Oxfordshire and hundreds of people are cared for by their nurses both within the community, in hospital, in their own homes and within a hospice setting.
This is through five sites: Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub in South Oxfordshire, Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub Berkshire in Newbury, Sue Ryder Wokingham and Wallingford Community Hospital in partnership with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. The Sue Ryder Nurses working across these services provide palliative care for people with a terminal diagnosis, while supporting their families too.
Louise Lucio, Service Director at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire says: “Growing up in Reading I have always been aware of Sue Ryder and the incredible support the Sue Ryder Nurses provide. It therefore feels special to unveil a mural which shows the tremendous gratitude of the local community to our wonderful nurses.
Palliative care nursing is a rewarding career and the words in this mural demonstrate the depth and strength of feeling families who have experienced our care have for our Sue Ryder Nurses. We encourage you to visit the mural, reflect and find out more about how we can be there to support you and your family when it matters.”
Mark Sturgess, whose brother James was cared for at the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading says: “The Sue Ryder Nurses really couldn’t do enough for James. All the staff do their jobs to an amazing standard but at the same time they have that extra human touch.
James actually passed away on my daughter’s birthday and that morning the nurses organised for a cake to be brought in so he could sing happy birthday to her with us. That always sticks in my mind as they went that extra mile and helped him to have that special memory on his final day.”
Alice Latham whose mum Sarah was cared for at the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading adds, “I was just 26 when mum died, and the expert care from Sue Ryder made a bad thing a bit better. I am eternally thankful to the nurses at the hospice who cared for her and supported my family and I through our most difficult days. I know that they helped to make her last days easier and they helped me make some sense of what was happening.”
Tina Newman whose husband John was cared for by Sue Ryder Nurses from Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire, says, “It was such an unknown and scary time, but the Sue Ryder Nurses always went above and beyond to support our family. They visited us three times a day and they built up such a rapport and it really felt like they had become part of our family.
“John was a proud man and they always treated him with dignity, while also taking the time to remember his interests and talk to him about the things he enjoyed. It was also the little things – like remembering our dog’s names and knowing when I needed a hug that meant so much.”
Penny Jarvis, a Sue Ryder Nurse at Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire says: “This new mural beautifully shows how much of a privilege it is to care for someone at the end of their life.
“We meet people when they are going through a very difficult time, but we are here to support them and their loved ones every step of the way. The mural is an incredible tribute to this, and the messages of gratitude have moved me deeply.
“We are just doing our job and we love it. These words are why we do what we do. I’d like to thank everyone in the region who fundraises for us, shops with us or donates with us. Being a charity, we can only continue to be there when it matters thanks to you.”
Celebrity supporter and local resident, Chris Tarrant shared his personal message of thanks with Sue Ryder Nurses in support of the campaign, “As a local resident I know all about the great work of Sue Ryder and its tireless care in in the local area.
That’s why I’m supporting its new campaign, We Are Sue Ryder – celebrating the wonderful work of the Sue Ryder Nurses and healthcare teams across Berkshire and South Oxfordshire.
If you head down to The Oracle in Reading from 24 May, you’ll see a poignant mural which shows heart-felt messages to Sue Ryder Nurses – all shared by local people.
I couldn’t think of a better tribute to those who are there when we need them most – and which so beautifully represents the lasting impact palliative care nurses have on patients and their loved ones.
Please visit the mural, read the words and support the charity so the care teams can continue to be there when it matters.”
Visit the We Are Sue Ryder mural at The Oracle Shopping Centre Reading, by the riverside entrance and next to YO! Sushi, from 24th May where it will be on display throughout the summer. Find out more about Sue Ryder services in your local area and how you can support us here: www.sueryder.org/WeAre
* Sue Ryder research ‘Modelling demand and costs for palliative care services in England.
About Sue Ryder:
Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition – we’re there when it matters. For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can.
In order to continue to provide and develop our services and expert care we rely predominantly on income from our charity shops, fundraising activities, and donations from members of the public.
For more information please visit www.sueryder.org
Visiting the mural