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Coronavirus: Belfast nurse Kate Laing moved to tears by family's gift of NHS painting


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A delighted Kate Laing with her painting

A delighted Kate Laing with her painting

A delighted Kate Laing with her painting

A Belfast nurse was moved to tears when her family presented her with a painting honouring frontline NHS staff after returning home from a gruelling shift.

Kate Laing (53) said she was stunned to find Graeme Foster's work based on the 'Clap for Carers' weekly round of national applause hanging in the landing of the Moneyreagh home she shares with her husband Steve (47) and children Zoe (22) and Harry (24).

Until recently Kate was Deputy Sister in paediatrics at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald but the closure of that ward due to the Covid-19 pandemic saw her transferred to the Emergency Department. "The painting was a complete surprise and I burst into tears as soon as I saw it because I had just come in after a long day at work," Kate said.

"My family can't do anything to help me at the moment, but this was their way to show their appreciation for what all healthcare workers are doing."

The painting by the east Belfast artist, known as Foss, depicts people clapping for key workers outside their front doors with the iconic Harland & Wolff cranes in the background.

While Kate received the original painting, prints have also been sold to honour others going the extra mile at this time.

"The streets in the painting are named after myself and Steve and he even had my car added into it and people wearing facemasks," she added.

"Those sorts of personal gestures made it extra special."

Like all medical professionals, Kate says coronavirus has been the biggest challenge she has faced in her 34-year nursing career.

"I have never seen anything like this and over the past few weeks we have all gone through periods of feeling emotionally overwhelmed, tired and anxious about what is going to happen," she said.

"While I have years of experience behind me I feel really sorry for the younger junior nurses who are just newly qualified and finding themselves having to deal with a situation like this."

Kate said the weekly Clap for Carers has been a huge boost but says her job has always been a privilege.

Foss has just completed a second painting focused around Northern Ireland's first Nightingale Hospital at Belfast City Hospital's tower block.

It features the iconic NHS murals that have been appearing across the country in recent weeks and a tribute to Captain Tom Moore, whose fundraising for the NHS reached over £32m.

"Whenever this is finally all over the paintings will be a reminder of a time when most of us stood still and only had to clap while others did all the hard work," Foss said.

Belfast Telegraph