Friday 13 September 2019

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity has teamed up with Sir Quentin Blake, the world-famous children’s illustrator, and Felicity Dahl to bring the magic of Roald Dahl’s most iconic characters permanently to the hospital for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy.

Renowned for having illustrated Roald Dahl’s globally-beloved books, Sir Quentin has generously donated his instantly-recognisable designs to the hospital to be created in a stunning, stained-glass window installation – the first-time Sir Quentin’s work has ever been produced in stained-glass.

The unique and vibrant installation, for which the hospital now seeks the final funding to help make a reality, will be housed inside Waterfall House, the hospital’s new state-of-the-art building, home to its world-class Children’s Cancer Centre and the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre for children.

The windows will 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.

This unique art project is the brainchild of Felicity Dahl, wife of the late author, who has a strong personal connection to the renowned hospital. Felicity’s father, Alphonsus d’Abreu, was a pioneering Thoracic and Cardiac surgeon, who operated on many young patients at the children’s hospital until his death in the 1970s.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity - the groundbreaking medical charity established by Felicity in her husband’s name - funds four Roald Dahl Nurses, who specialise in rare diseases, at the hospital. They are part of a nationwide network of 75 Roald Dahl Nurses, who collectively care for 21,000 seriously ill children.

To bring the world-first display to life, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity needs to raise £234,000 to transform the window at the entrance to Waterfall House, overlooking Whittall Street, as well as a series of nine smaller interior windows along the building’s main ground floor corridor.

Felicity Dahl, who was joined by her dear friend Joanna Lumley OBE at the launch event on Thursday 12 September, said: “We hope it will be comforting for the brave young patients, and their equally brave families, to see their favourite Roald Dahl characters waiting at the entrance to welcome them into the hospital. I hope particularly that these beautiful new windows will bring a smile to their faces and help remove some of the fear they will understandably be feeling on arrival.”

The window installation marks the launch of a new hospital-wide arts strategy, which highlights the benefits of bringing the arts into clinical environments in order to have a positive impact on a patient’s healing and recovery, meaning they are more likely to get home quicker.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with the legendary Sir Quentin Blake and the awe-inspiring Felicity Dahl to bring the magic of Roald Dahl to our fantastic children’s hospital.  A wealth of research supports our own experience that the environment really does affect how our patients feel and heal, and this incredible installation is just the ‘marvellous medicine’ our children and young people need and deserve to help them through their care and treatment.”

The charity has already received some generous donations towards the project, but is now calling upon the public to help it make the installation a reality. Work to install the stained-glass windows will only begin once the money needed has been raised. 

Watch Felicity Dahl talk about the Stained Glass Windows at our hospital.