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.
Harry Gray is working with Thomas Fattorini to make the Covid Stars. At the heart of Birmingham's famous Jewellery Quarter and established in 1827, Fattorini is famous for making the most prestigious awards for the NHS and the Care sectors.
Over 50,000 Covid Stars have now been ordered or delivered by a growing number of NHS trusts and Fattorini's new apprentices are hard at work learning traditional glass enamel skills.
5,000 Ashford and St Peter's NHS Trust
14,300 Cambridge University Hospitals
3,800 Leeds and York NHS partnership
7,000 King's College Hospital NHS Trust
7,000 Central North West London NHS Trust
7,000 Oxford NHS partnership
6,000 Cornwall Partnership NHS foundation trust
For more information about commissioning the Covid Star contact Harry via email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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.