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Local Cleaner Photographed By Rankin For NHS birthday Portrait Collection

Laura Arrowsmith

A powerful portrait of a cleaner from Leighton Hospital who has served on the front line throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been captured by acclaimed photographer Rankin, as part of a collection unveiled today to celebrate the NHS’ birthday.

Laura Arrowsmith, from Crewe, Cheshire, was selected to be photographed for the collection, which will be showcased at local bus stops, roadside billboards as well as iconic pedestrian areas including the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in central London this week to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.  

In a mark of respect and thanks to the NHS, the renowned photographer, who has previously shot the Rolling Stones, Kate Moss and the Queen, offered to take portraits of 12 people across the country playing a vital role in the NHS response to COVID-19.

British photographer, director and cultural provocateur, Rankin, said, “As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease. Taking a portrait is a unique and intimate experience, even with social distancing in place. Everyone had their own inspiring story which to them was just doing their job. I hope these images portray the resilience and courage they show every day in the face of real adversity.” 

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: “This has been the most challenging year in the NHS’s history, with our amazing staff providing care to almost 100,000 hospitalised Covid patients, and many more in the community. Nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists, cleaners and countless others have pulled together, bolstered by thousands of former NHS staff who came back to help, alongside a new generation of students who stepped up. As we approach the NHS’s anniversary, these striking portraits pay tribute to all NHS staff and their extraordinary dedication. On July 5th we also want to say thank you to those from all walks of life who have played their part in helping the NHS and our communities deal with this unprecedented health emergency.”

Laura Arrowsmith, Domestic Assistant at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Leighton Hospital, said: “I felt so proud to have my photograph taken on behalf of Leighton Hospital, and to represent Crewe. We are one big team here and everyone is playing their part and I feel I’m just doing my job as best I can. The night before I was like a kid on Christmas Eve and when I was there it was a real wow moment.”

Alongside their portrait, Laura has shared her own personal story from the frontline, providing a unique and touching insight into the lives of the people who are battling this pandemic and saving lives.

The participants have been photographed unhidden by PPE to reveal the people behind the masks and celebrate the individuals they are.   

All portraits are being donated by Rankin to the NHS as an ongoing legacy for years to come. Advertising space to display the portraits has also been donated.

The full selection of portraits and their stories can be found here: www.england.nhs.uk/rankin.