Renowned Teesside artist supports rebranded charity with incredible donation

Twelve wonderful works of art by world-famous Teesside artist Mackenzie Thorpe will brighten the walls of The James Cook University Hospital to mark the relaunch of a much-needed local charity.

The limited edition prints, including some from the artists private collection, were personally donated by Mackenzie to Our Hospitals Charity, and will adorn the walls of the hospital’s new Children and Young People’s Emergency Department, which is being built thanks to support from the newly rebranded charity.

Formerly known as the South Tees Hospitals Charity, Our Hospitals Charity is dedicated to raising money to help buy equipment and provide treatment that isn’t available on the NHS.

Serving one million people across the region, it supports staff health and wellbeing at hospitals in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Hambleton and Richmondshire, raises vital funds for state-of-the art equipment, pioneering research and staff training and is dedicated to raising the level of NHS service.

The change of name to Our Hospitals Charity coincides with a rebranding, which was gifted by Teesside based brand agency, Better.

Better’s managing director Mark Easby was proud to donate the skill and experience of his team to support the charity, saying: “It was clear to us the critical role Our Hospitals Charity plays for over a million people across our region, including our own friends and family.

“However, we recognised their need to improve how they tell their story, personalise their brand and increase awareness of the life-changing difference the charity makes.”

Run entirely by generous donations from the public, Our Hospitals Charity is thrilled to count the likes of Better and Mackenzie Thorpe among its supporters.

With the help of the organisation, Mackenzie has already donated a pin badge featuring one of his works of art, which was given to over 10,000 staff working across South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to say thank you for their amazing efforts during the Covid pandemic.

Now the globally successful artist, born and raised in Middlesbrough, has gone one step further by giving James Cook’s new Children and Young People’s Emergency Department – due to open in July – a collection of his original paintings.

“I watch the North-East news religiously,” said Mackenzie, who lives in Brighton but has a studio and store in Richmond, North Yorkshire. “The James Cook is always on it and I’m so proud.

“It’s one of the largest hospitals in our region and I brag about that a lot! My grandad, my grandma, my mam and dad, they all went through those doors – and my sister was there a few months ago, so who wouldn’t want to help?”.

“All I can do is paint,” continued Mackenzie, whose artwork graces the homes of stars such as Elton John and even Her Majesty the Queen.

“I spoke to my son Owen and my wife Susan, who is a nurse herself, and we decided OK, we will donate some original paintings, which are really smiley and happy for the children.”

James Cook already boasts a collection of Mackenzie’s works in the foyer of their main entrance and the artist has been moved by the reaction to them.

“If I can make a difference to someone’s life with my art, then it’s the least I can do,” he said.

“Not a week goes by without someone getting in touch through my website or by going into my Arthaus Gallery in Richmond and talking about those paintings. They will say ‘I’ve just seen me wife in hospital and this or that happened, and I looked at your pictures and I felt this way’. Art can really make a massive difference.”

Deeply touched by the work of the NHS in our region, Mackenzie concludes: “I would rather go to a hospital and see the children enjoying my work than have an exhibition at The Tate. It really is a big deal for me.

“If my pictures are going to make the children smile or laugh or feel more comfortable, then I’ve done my job.”

Head of Our Hospitals Charity Ben Murphy cites each donation as a way of giving back to the NHS and ensuring that our nearest and dearest will continue to be supported.

“Every donation received is a thank you that will make a real difference to your family, friends and colleagues, regardless of whether they’re patients or staff,” he said.

“During the last year, while we were supporting our incredible NHS colleagues, it was evident that a lot of our donors didn’t realise we existed, or if they did they knew very little about the purpose and the incredible work the charity does across our region.

“We wanted our new brand to communicate our vision and purpose better. We exist to improve the NHS in our region for those closest to you. Everything we do revolves around raising money to enhance services, and ultimately enrich our region’s health and wellbeing.

“At our heart, we’re NHS champions who are passionate about making a difference. We are incredibly grateful to Better Brand Agency who have worked with us over the last couple of months to create our new brand free of charge – and, of course, to Mackenzie for his wonderful donation of paintings which will make all the difference to those who see them.”

Hospitals benefiting from those who support Our Hospitals Charity are James Cook, Redcar Primary Care Hospital, East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital in Brotton, Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and the Friarage in Richmond. The charity also supports community health services in these areas.

To donate to Our Hospitals Charity, please visit OurHospitalsCharity.org