Young Leeds Children's Hospital patient is regional winner of art competition
A patient at Leeds Children's Hospital, 12 year-old Hannah Whitaker from Alwoodley, Leeds, has been named the regional winner for The North in the National Play in Hospital-Week Art Competition, which was recently judged by comedian Harry Hill.
National Play in Hospital Week, which will be celebrated between 8th and 14th October, aims to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of poorly children across the UK and this year’s event was launched by a national art competition.
It is organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS), which aims to promote and ensure the provision of appropriate therapeutic and stimulating play facilities in hospital, and Starlight Children's Foundation, which brightens the lives of half a million poorly children each year, working with hospitals like ours in Leeds.
The competition asked poorly children and young people to produce a drawing that illustrates how play in hospital helps them. Hundreds of entries flooded in but it was the drawing produced by Hannah that Harry Hill chose as The North’s winning illustration!
Hannah, who has recently had to undergo a kidney transplant, is being treated in the Leeds Children's Hospital at Leeds General Infirmary. She was encouraged to participate in the competition by the play specialists at the hospital and she drew a colourful puzzle with the words, ‘Play In Hospital Is Fun!’.
During the judging, Harry picked out winners for each of the seven allocated regions, which included The North, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, London, The Midlands and The South.
Online children’s toy shop “Letterbox” has generously provided exciting prizes for Hannah and the other winners. In addition, the winning drawings will be used on marketing and publicity materials used to advertise National Play in Hospital Week.
Anna Grisdale, who is a play specialist at Leeds Children's Hospital, said, “National Play in Hospital Week is a chance for us to demonstrate how important play is in the treatment of poorly children and the art competition was a lovely way for Starlight and NAHPS to launch this year’s event. We are delighted that Harry Hill liked Hannah’s brilliant drawing and are really proud that she has been named as regional winner for The North.”
After the judging, Harry Hill commented, "It was a great honour to be asked to judge the National Play in Hospital Week Art Competition with Starlight and NAHPS. There were some great entries from across the UK and it was fascinating to see how each child had depicted the way in which play helps them when they are in hospital. Although they were all very different, each entry clearly showed that, whether it’s cuddling a teddy, blowing bubbles, or simply having a giggle, play really helps poorly children to cope with their pain and anxiety when in hospital."