Sue Ryder Nurse Megan Davies, who works at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, has been immortalised in an oil painting as part of a nationwide art project, #PortraitsForNHSHeroes.
The #PortraitsForNHSHeroes movement was started by Oxford-based artist Thomas Croft, who wanted to pay tribute to those on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis during lockdown. He put out an offer on Instagram to paint a free portrait for the first healthcare worker to reply, but received so many requests that he was able to match hundreds of key workers with professional artists across the UK, who volunteered to paint them.
Megan is currently a Nursing Associate, having recently completed an adult nursing degree at Oxford Brookes University to become a fully qualified nurse. After completing a number of university placements in palliative care, Megan knew it was an area she wanted to specialise in.
“When my Nana was poorly, she didn’t get the death that she deserved. I think I always remembered that and knew I would do everything I could to make sure that it didn't happen for anyone else.
"I’m still quite new to the profession, but Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice is such a lovely place to work. Everyone that comes into the building is there for such a lovely reason and I think it is so wonderful to see everyone pulling together to get the best outcome that they can.
"All the messages of support we have received have been amazing and I think everyone is trying to stay very positive during this time.”
Becoming a subject for #PortraitsForNHSHeroes
After being tagged in the #PortraitsForNHSHeroes Instagram post by a friend, Megan contacted Tom Croft and was paired with local professional artist Peter Keegan, director of The Courtyard Studio in Buckinghamshire.
The process began with a couple of conversations over Facetime where he found out more information about her, her work and how she's managing working for the hospice during this time. He also discussed the type of artwork she liked and shared some good tips on taking a photograph of herself for him to paint from.
Peter then created the 70x60cm oil painting on canvas, which took him about 4 hours to complete. It is hoped that it will feature at an exhibition alongside other portraits completed as part of the project, to celebrate the work done by a wide range of NHS and key workers.
Speaking of her portrait, Megan said: “I was absolutely blown away, it’s amazing. Peter is so talented and was lovely to work with throughout the process. It’s something I will cherish forever and it makes me very proud to be a Sue Ryder Nurse.”