Visitors to Gratitude will be able to listen to real-life stories and poems about key workers, a selection of which have now been recorded by a host of well-known voices from across the UK, including Adil Ray, Hugh Bonneville, Sarah Parish, Norman Cook,Christopher Eccleston, Julie Hesmondhalgh, John Thomson, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Shobna Gulati and KT Tunstall.
From touching tributes to doctors and staff at Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital to a light-hearted story about a dedicated Deputy Head Teacher striving to keep her pupils happy, a railway worker who has gone over and above his duties to keep people safe on their daily commutes to a powerful poem about our NHS heroes, listeners are sure to be taken on a journey of quiet reflection whilst observing the stunning artwork.
One of the first audio stories to be announced as part of the installation is from Matt Kelly, a Wigan Council service manager who last year penned a poem initially for his partner, a district nurse, which was shared on social media and touched millions. The poem, ‘Our Heroes’ was then brought to life on BBC Radio 5 live, by one of the UK’s most prominent actors, Christopher Eccleston and will also form part of one of ‘Gratitude’s’ audio stories. On voicing the poem again for ‘Gratitude’, Christopher Eccleston said:
“There was such a heartwarming response to Matt Kelly’s poem so it will be wonderful to be able to help bring the exhibition to life through his words.”
Matt Kelly said:
“I am delighted that ‘Our Heroes’ will be part of this fantastic project. During this last year, our Doctors, Nurses, carers and support staff have quite literally saved us from this awful pandemic. The war like effort of the NHS and the scenes I was seeing on the news helped inspire me to write the poem at the start of the pandemic. At the time, it was a poem of hope, but one year on, it is becoming a poem of nostalgia and gratitude. This project is a fitting tribute to our wonderful heroes.”
Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said:
“We’re delighted to have the support of so many well-known figures to help us to bring words and art together to tell the story of this unprecedented time. We hope people will be inspired to submit their stories and poems and we look forward to listening to them as part of Gratitude this summer.”
The stories and poems will be available via the Gratitude App and website from 20 August 2021.