Discovering a passion for painting during the pandemic

During lockdown, hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist Marie Wilkes embarked on a new hobby simply to pass the time. But it wasn’t long before Marie, who has been nursing for 30 years, discovered that her latest pursuit had other surprising benefits for her wellbeing.

“I’ve never painted before and decided to use time during lockdown to embrace something entirely different,” says mum-of-two Marie. “As a complete beginner I thought I’d buy myself a paint by numbers kit and then this lion – so colourful and a symbol of strength and courage – really caught my eye! Painting after work gave my mind some downtime and helped me to relax. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’ve just started my second painting.

“Each of us is facing our own challenges at the moment and may be dealing with anxiety and worries about work, money, family and isolation. Looking after your mental wellbeing is so important and finding ways to be creative can not only pass the time but help you to express emotions and feel calmer.“

And now Marie is offering up her creation in return for a donation to help raise vital funds for John Taylor Hospice. Marie explains: “I had great fun creating this painting and hope that by donating it some more good can come from it. Like so many charities our hospice has been hit hard financially by COVID-19 so I’d love to find the painting a new home and raise a bit of money to help if I can.”

If you would like to make a charitable contribution to the hospice in return for Marie’s painting we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch with the John Taylor Hospice Fundraising Team at


Here we have listed some wellbeing resources that you may find helpful should you need further guidance and support at this time: 

Official government advice and information


Government daily updates:

Public Health England:

COVID-19 support and advice for hospice patients and their families:

Mental health

For mental health and wellbeing advice and support you can contact Birmingham Mind:

This short guide from Mind explores some of the worries and difficulties you might experience due to the coronavirus pandemic:

The Mental Health Foundation has provided advice about how to look after your mental health during the pandemic:

Coronavirus and isolation: supporting yourself and your colleagues. Visit the toolkit created by Mental Health at Work:

Resources for young people and advice for parents:

NHS mental health apps library:

NHS mental health helplines:

Every Mind Matters: Support for young people

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“At such a heartbreaking and difficult time, the nurses and care assistants knew exactly what to do and to say – we’d have been lost without them. The care they provided for my beautiful wife was second to none and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Roger Perks

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“I can’t thank hospice teams enough. From fitting grab rails in my house and ordering a reclining bed, reviewing of all my medication, providing me with new medical equipment and even helping to organise domestic help for us at home – they’ve covered everything but are always willing to do even more.”

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