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'Loom to the Moon' artwork opens at Oxford Children's Hospital

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An exciting new artwork has opened at the Oxford Children's Hospital, creating a colourful and interactive welcome for young patients to our Trust.

The Loom to the Moon installation was officially opened with a 'loom band cutting' ceremony by local charity Blue Skye Thinking, with special guests, at the John Radcliffe Hospital on Friday 15 February 2019.

The artwork was created by artist Jane Watt and was funded by Blue Skye Thinking working together with Oxford Hospitals Charity, which helps support departments and wards across our four hospitals.

Skye Hall, from Abingdon, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour when he was four. It was while he was receiving treatment in a pressurised oxygen tank (which mimicked a spaceship), that he made colourful loom band chains to help pass the time, and out of this activity and his idea, Loom to the Moon was born.

In the last few weeks of his life, not only did Skye engage the help of thousands of well wishers from across the globe who contributed by sending him loom bands - breaking the world record for the longest team loom band chain - but his mission also helped his charity, Blue Skye Thinking, raise large funds for paediatric brain tumour research.

In collaboration with Artlink, the Oxford Hospitals Charity arts programme, the youngster's record-breaking loom band chain has been converted into a large-scale, interactive art installation in the main atrium at Oxford Children's Hospital.

Skye's mum, Sally Hall, said: "Thanks to continued and generous support from the Oxfordshire community, Blue Skye Thinking is extremely proud to be in a position to officially open the newly installed 'Loom to the Moon' art installation at Oxford Children's Hospital.

"This is a fantastic testament to Skye's vision to 'loom to the moon', and his incredible desire to 'help other children like me'.

"Skye had high aspirations and demonstrated huge determination to overcome incredibly difficult challenges he had to face throughout his treatment.

"I think he would have loved the intrigue and scale of this addition to the hospital.

"I hope this magical artwork will go some way to keeping his memory alive and bring a little of the excitement and magic which Skye had into the lives of others along the way."

Erica Watson, a Senior Play Specialist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Part of the Play Specialist's role is to provide a bright, colourful and stimulating environment for the children in hospital.

"This art project will go a long way to supporting the work we do and offer the children a new interactive focus.

"It will be somewhere special for the children to go and explore and maybe encourage those who are finding things difficult to get some head space and venture off the ward to investigate.

"It is such a fitting tribute to Skye, and all the children and families who spent hours making the loom bands to break the Guinness World Record, and raise vital funds for research that we have a permanent reminder of their achievements."

Ruth Charity, Arts Co-ordinator for Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: "The Loom to the Moon artwork creates a vibrant and colourful welcome to the Children's Hospital for young patients and their families, helping to make the hospital a less intimidating place to visit.

"As a fun, interactive artwork we hope it will engage children, taking their mind off their treatment and providing a distraction from pain, anxiety and stress.

"There is now a wealth of research showing that the arts can provide real, measurable health benefits to patients, reducing the length of a patient's stay in hospital, decreasing levels of depression and reducing their perception of pain.

"So our hospital charity is very grateful to Blue Skye Thinking for giving us the opportunity to help our young patients in this way."

Pictured: Skye Hall's family officially open Loom to the Moon