Edinburgh healthcare professional features in national photo project

A staff member who was working at the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh during the coronavirus crisis will feature in a national collection of original photographs celebrating the healthcare professionals working on the frontline.

Over 100 professional photographers from around the UK volunteered for The 2020 Vision Project which shows the people behind the masks, giving a glimpse into their lives away from the frontline. Marie Curie have been caring for people with coronavirus and all terminal illnesses throughout the crisis across the Lothians including at its hospice at Fairmilehead.

Dr Heather Stirling, who was a Training Fellow at the hospice and is now undertaking GP training with the NHS was photographed by Austin Mitchell for the project along with her fiancée Dr Joseph Harvey. Austin was due to be their videographer at their wedding later this year which has sadly been postponed due to the pandemic.

The photo of the couple is being previewed for free at St Ethelburga’s in central London on Saturday 26 and 27 September before a planned full-scale national exhibition on the anniversary of lockdown in March 2021 featuring all 600 original images and stories from around the UK.

Alongside the photograph will be words Heather was asked to share to give an insight into working during the crisis, she said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by kindness. From all the families who stepped back and accepted our no visitor policies, the patients who’d ask if we were ok. The staff who stepped up to multiple extra shifts uncomplaining and the managers who kept checking in with us all despite the mountains of new work they have taken on. Everyone was exhausted but everyone kept adapting – smiling (behind the masks) and supporting each other.

“Supporting a family member through the end of their life is such a hard time, but to have to do that at a distance, and not be able to have a proper funeral, just doesn’t bear thinking about. They have been so kind, so grateful and so accepting of what we have been able to offer and that has been truly humbling.”

The 2020 Vision Project will raise funds for end of life charity Marie Curie and Horizon, who provide film and photography workshops for people in recovery from addiction.

Co-Founders of The 2020 Vision Project Sophie Sheinwald and Annie Murray said: “Healthcare workers were unprepared for the tsunami of service that they had to deliver at their very peril. We both realised how vital it is to validate them for their invaluable help and support to the nation. The 2020 Vision Project is

Marie Curie Free Support Line  (0800 090 2309) which can help with information about all aspects of end of life or grieving, whether you have practical, emotional or financial questions or concerns, or if you just want someone to talk to. Nurses are also available to talk to on the line. For more information, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/support