IT’S a lasting tribute to his twin brother who inspired Huddersfield’s first ever children’s hospice.
And arty Tom Shepherd, 18, from Ainley Top, is hoping that the graffiti mural he’s created will also brighten up the teenage recreation room at the brand new Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Brackenhall.
The artwork, created using colourful spray paints, bears the name of Tom’s brother Russell.
Russell, now 18, was diagnosed with a rare brain condition when he was a baby.
Despite being given just days to live Russell battled hydrocephalus – which is known as ‘water on the brain’ – and survived.
He had to undergo countless operations and has been going to Martin House hospice in Wetherby for respite care for many years.
When he was very young mum Linda was delighted with the way Russell was cared for at Martin House – but couldn’t believe there was no similar facility in or near Huddersfield.
It was then that she was inspired to set up the Forget Me Not Trust.
It was more than a decade ago that she began fundraising to get money for a hospice and now her dream has been realised and the £3.1m hospice has been built off Fell Greave Road.
Linda said: “I always knew that it would be built, but I never knew how long it would take.
“For the first seven years I did all of the fundraising myself. I dragged the boys along everywhere and made them do all sorts of things like abseiling to raise money. We’re just so pleased now.”
It was Tom’s idea to create the mural at the hospice.
The Kirklees College art student was helped by friend and fellow student Stuart Jowett.
It took them one-and-a-half days to finish the piece.
Tom said: “I designed it as Russell’s name and used blue and grey because they are contrasting colours and are also the colours of the Forget Me Not Trust.
“I’ve painted a slot machine and a teddy bear because people of all ages can relate to having a teddy bear.
“And the bombs on the right-hand-side are a bit different.
“Russell hasn’t seen it close-up yet, but I’ve taken some pictures of it.
“I think the hospice is great and it’s going to help a lot of people and make it easier for families who have ill children.”
In tomorrow’s Examiner: Our first look inside the new hospice.