Leonard’s legacy lives on 

17/02/2015 00:00 
A simple request from a patient for pens and paper has mushroomed into an elaborate series of well-used, boredom-busting folders, available on wards to keep patients occupied during their hospital stay.
Leonard Cockman 
Leonard Cockman, who was a patient at UCLH, died in December 2012. But his legacy lives on, inspiring patients to turn their hand to creative activities, such as artwork, poetry, origami and crossword puzzles.

Leonard was the catalyst for the anti-boredom folders, says UCLH creative specialist Lizzie Burns. “The idea for the creative folders came after I met Leonard,” says Lizzie. “He said he’d been bored on a side ward and asked the nurses if he could have some felt-tips and paper.”

From there, the idea grew, as did the folders and now they are being piloted on a number of wards and in radiotherapy. The folders are also used to help occupy children when they’re visiting relatives.

Lizzie Burns

Creative specialist Lizzie Burns with some of Leonard’s drawings and a poster about the creative folders.


Lizzie is part of the UCLH Macmillan Support  and Information Service and her work is supported by the UCH Cancer Fund. She said the creative folders have helped to fill a gap for adults, enabling them to occupy their time on the wards and giving them a chance to try new creative activities. Posters on the ward, alerting patients to the folders, feature some of Leonard’s car drawings.

Lizzie said: “I don’t think Leonard had drawn since he was at school, but once he got started there was no stopping him.” His drawings of lorries, buses, and every type of car from a Mini to a Rolls Royce, have been featured on the trust intranet and displayed in the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre.

“He said drawing made him feel fantastic,” Lizzie said. “It’s great that something he started back in 2012 has proved to be so popular and is still continuing and expanding.”

Some of Leonard's drawings


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