Surgeons recall sacrifices made by NHS staff in pandemic as sculpture unveiled
Your Next Breath, created by sculptor Kenny Hunter, was unveiled in the grounds of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on Thursday.
Believed to be the first memorial in Scotland dedicated to NHS staff who worked through the pandemic, it depicts four health workers in scrubs as they experience a moment of reflection at the end of a shift.
Mr Hunter said: “It has been a real privilege to be involved in such an important memorial, which I hope symbolises our collective gratitude towards all NHS healthcare workers and their selfless actions.”
To gain an insight into what medics were feeling at the time, Mr Hunter spoke with surgeons Michael Griffin, Clare McNaught and Nirmal Kumar.
Ms McNaught, a consultant colorectal and general surgeon and vice-president elect of the college, said: “Seeing the sculptures in-situ like this has been incredibly emotional.
“Kenny has taken the emotions my colleagues and I were experiencing at the time, which were a real mixture of darkness and light, and transformed them into this stunning piece of art.
“I think the life-sized figures are very impactful. As a viewer, they really make you stop and think. It was a privilege to be involved in this process.”
Prof Griffin, college president, said he hopes the memorial will “encourage visitors for years to come to consider how much healthcare workers sacrificed and how vital they were throughout this period”.
He added: “The unveiling of this striking piece of public art represents not only a significant moment in history, but also offers us an opportunity to stop and reflect on all the NHS workers who lost their lives whilst working on the front line during the pandemic.”
The memorial was initially modelled in clay and then cast in to resin.
The King, then the Prince of Wales, viewed the model in June, and after it received the royal seal of approval it was cast in bronze and put into place at the college.