Commissioned for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust
Mark Reed’s monumental Tree of Life sculpture is raising funds for The Queen Hospital Kings Lynn and is providing a place of calm contemplation.
The Tree of Life sculpture was created for patients, carers, family members and everyone affected by the amazing care our wonderful NHS staff delivers. It was especially poignant as Mark created the tree during lockdowns over the Covid crisis and it was installed in March 2022.
The 4.5 m stainless steel sculpture was commissioned by the Kings Lynn Hospitals’ League of Friends for the Tree of Life Garden in the hospital. The stunning sculpture features over 2,000 coloured and shimmering leaves that are being engraved with personal messages and memories, thus raising funds for the League of Friends, a registered Charity (No. 207406) . Since 1953 its band of volunteers have raised millions of pounds which have been spent for the hospital. They continue to buy specialist equipment and fund projects to enhance the environment and further improve patient care.
A permanent installation, the tree is sculpted from stainless steel and is both a place for commemoration and a space for quiet reflection and even joy amongst our most difficult days.
Mark has many personal connections to the hospital as he lost his father from cancer at the QEII but also wanted the sculpture to reflect the joy and celebration of life that is experienced too, as his first son Oscar was born there 19 years ago.
“It’s so humbling to have been part of making this piece, that serves not only as a space for contemplation in the Tree of Life Garden at the Hospital, but a brilliant way of raising funds for the Hospital, each leaf is detachable and can be engraved upon and it is so inspiring to see the lives and loves of people expand into the canopy over time. I have sculpted numerous features within the tree for children and adults alike to discover; with faces in the trunk and branches and creatures within it; the leaves create dappled shade beneath and the shadows of the leaves upon the ground move throughout the day, which I hope engages the viewer and gives some respite from the pressure of a hospital visit. It has never occurred to me that the depth that my tree could have upon others’ lives, I have had someone from even another continent (Australia) contact me to thank me for bringing so much pleasure to his sister.
I was inspired to make my first tree after seeing the exposed windswept trees on the Norfolk coast resolutely facing incoming storms, really a metaphor for the trails of life. I was commissioned for the sculpture just before the pandemic and my feelings of gratitude to the NHS and their relentless and amazing work have been even more heightened as we delivered it emerging blinking into the sunshine after Covid.” says Mark.
The Tree of Life sculpture is 4.5m/16’ wide x 4.5m/15’ tall and weighs 2. 5 tonnes and it was a real sight to behold travelling through the Norfolk countryside with a police escort on the morning of Saturday 12th March from Mark’s studio near Swaffham to Kings Lynn, our 4 children had the experience of a lifetime being part of its delivery.
The driving force behind the commissioning of the sculpture was Heike Schaefer ( Palliative Care facilitator at the hospital) who had the first leaf engraved by Mark as Nurse extraordinaire !
Mark Reed would also like to thank: Norfolk & Suffolk Police, Carter Haulage and Storage (Norfolk) Limited, Laserfast Ltd, R Tech Welding, Millstock Stainless and Aalco whose help has been invaluable in making of this unique sculpture.
Mark hopes that as well as raising vital funds that the sculpture will eventually reflect the sentiments and the accumulated wisdom and memories of thousands of people passing through the doors of the hospital over the years and while being a permanent work of art, will be an ever-changing memorial to loved ones and the power of community, family and, above all the NHS.
The Tree of Life will raise funds for the Kings Lynn Hospital league of Friends and if you would like further information on how to commission a personal message to be engraved permanently on one of its leaves see: https://www.qehkl.nhs.uk/Tree-Of-Life.asp?s=foundation&ss=fundraising.and.donations&p=the.tree.of.life