Harry Hill gets to the art of the matter 

01/08/2012 00:00 

Best known for bringing laughter wherever he goes, comedian and TV presenter Harry Hill visited University College Hospital (UCH) to spread some cheer to young patients as part of the launch of this year’s National Play in Hospital Week. 

Harry Hill judges the artwork with Irene O'Donnell, play services manager 

The week-long initiative, which will be celebrated between October 8 and 14 this year, aims to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of children across the UK.  It is organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS), which aims to promote and ensure the provision of appropriate therapeutic and stimulating play facilities in hospital and Starlight Children’s Foundation, which brightens the lives of over half a million poorly children in the UK each year.

Harry kindly visited UCH to judge an art competition.  From the hundreds of entries, Harry picked out a winner for each of the seven allocated regions, London, The Midlands, The North, The South, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and an overall national winner.

Harry Hill shares a joke with a patient at University College Hospital

Online children’s toy shop “Letterbox” has generously provided exciting toys and games as prizes for each of the regional winners, the national winner and the national winner’s hospital.  In addition, the national winner’s drawing will be used on all marketing and publicity materials used to advertise National Play in Hospital Week.

After the judging, Harry Hill said: "It was a great honour to be asked to judge the National Play in Hospital Week Art Competition with Starlight and NAHPS and to meet some of the young patients at UCH. 

“There were some great entries from across the UK and it was fascinating to see how each child had depicted the way in which play helps them when they are in hospital. Although they were all very different, each entry clearly showed that, whether it’s cuddling a teddy, blowing bubbles, or simply having a giggle, play really helps poorly children to cope with their pain and anxiety when in hospital." 


Harry Hill poses with 17 year old Shauna Glynn

Irene O’Donnell, play services manager at UCLH and Vice Chair of NAHPS, added “We were delighted that Harry agreed to judge the competition for us as the children really enjoyed taking part and sharing their views of play in hospital. We know that good quality play and recreation opportunities can enhance mental health and the importance of children and young people’s emotional and psychological health is also recognized as having an impact on their physical health.” 

The winners of the National Play in Hospital Week Art Competition are as follows:

National Winner (and regional winner of The Midlands)

  • 7 year old Chloe Jones, Kettering General Hospital

Regional Winners

  • London - 12 year old Poppy Teare, University College Hospital, London
  • The South - 5 year old Talitha Bisson, Jersey General Hospital
  • The North - 12 year old Hannah Whitaker, Leeds Children’s Hospital 
  • Northern Ireland - 5 year old Shay Patterson, Altnagelvin Area Hospital 
  • Scotland - 14 year old Alexandra Kane, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital
  • Wales - 17 year old Amy Claire Davies, Morriston Hospital

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