The Covid Star People's medal is the work of British public artist Harry Gray, to honour NHS staff and Care Workers in the UK for their service throughout the Covid 19 pandemic.
An original artwork, this not for profit project is being commissioned by NHS trusts to thank staff and volunteers with an award that can be cherished, proudly worn in daily life and kept as an heirloom long after the nation's doorstep applause has ended. It is not for general sale.
The Aims of the Covid Star Project
1 - To create an elegant contemporary way to honour for the NHS staff and Care workers for protecting us during the Pandemic.
2 - To create training opportunities because each Covid Star is a piece of traditional handmade glass enamel jewellery made entirely in the UK. This project has brought craftsmen out of retirement to train young apprentices in Birmingham's famous Jewellery Quarter at Thomas Fattorini, a company holding the Royal Warrant and world famous for nurses and medical awards.
The story behind the design of the Covid Star
Harry was treated in hospital in March 2020, just before the first national lockdown. Despite receiving excellent care, he could already see the strain on NHS staff. While on the wards, Harry often heard the phrase 'they deserve a medal' directed to staff so he decided to design one.
The shape of the Covid Star is the Maltese Cross, a familiar and ancient motif used by many including St John's Ambulance and the Nightingale Badge of St Thomas's. By using this classic form, he has linked the Covid Star with the Nation's historic symbols for rewarding and celebrating care.
Yet Harry's is also a very contemporary design for at its centre is a circle with a scalloped rim which is a subtle reference to the spiked protein surface of the Covid-19 molecule, now successfully targeted by lifesaving vaccines. The C is for both the NHS and the Care Workers who have cared for us during the covid pandemic.
Above are the Florence Nightingale badge of St Thomas's and the St John's Ambulance badge both using the Maltese cross form. Below is Harry's contemporary design showing the subtle reference to the spiked surface of the virus molecule.
The Covid Stars are handmade using genuine glass enamel which, unlike resin, gives amazing depth of colour and a durability to ensure the Covid Star lasts long enough to be treasured for generations.
Harry consulted NHS nurses and Care Workers in the creation of his design. NHS staff nurses at the Rowans Hospice, near Portsmouth, who were caring for Harry's father said they preferred the idea of a smaller, pin-badge size, rather than a larger medal "that would just stay in drawer at home". As a result, Harry changed the design to the Covid Star to be a wearable size.
The response of NHS staff and Carers has been overwhelming; they absolutely love the Covid Star as you can see in the video above.
Harry Gray approached a UK company at the heart of Birminghams’ Jewellery Quarter to make prototypes of his design. The company, called Fattorini, was established in 1827 and is famous for making prestigious Nurses and Doctors awards.
Over 20,000 Covid Star have now been ordered or delivered and Fattorini's new apprentices are at work.
Ashford and St Peter's NHS Trust - 5,000
Cambridge University Hospitals - 14,300
Leeds and Bradford NHS partnership - 3,500
For more information about commissioning the Covid Star contact Harry via email - firstname.lastname@example.org