Painted portraits of COVID-19 heroes appear across Cardiff

Kasim Ali with his painting in Cardiff.
Kasim Ali in front of his painting in Cardiff. Credit: ITV Cymru

Ten 'coronavirus heroes' are to be honoured for their work during the pandemic with a portrait which will be displayed in Cardiff.

The scheme has been organised by FOR Cardiff, an organisation that looks to improve the city and to honour those who have gone above and beyond for their community.

After a call out for people to nominate their Cardiff COVID-19 hero, more than 100 entries were submitted in a week, and 10 were carefully chosen by FOR Cardiff’s judging panel.

Those who were selected will now have their own portraits, painted by artist Nathan Wyburn.

The portraits will be displayed in store windows around the city centre from Wednesday, July 1.

The selected individuals have been chosen for a variety of different reasons, including one who has come out of retirement and buskers.

  • Maisie-Lee Bryant, 9, busked outside of her nan's house and raised £100 that she then donated to the NHS. She also sent videos to people in care homes to try and raise their spirits during the pandemic. She said: “I am over the moon for being one of the ten. I just wanted to busk to raise money for the real superheroes."

  • Hayley Pearce set up a temporary foodbank in Fairwater to feed those in financial difficulty. Hayley said, “I started the Feeding Fairwater initiative to help a few families through a tough time, never did I expect there to be such a huge need within my own community. I could not have fed so many people over these past months if it wasn’t for the amazing team of volunteers that have given up their own time to help."

  • Kasim Ali brought together 25 local restaurants to create #FeedTheHeath where small kitchens could safely prepare healthy meals to distribute to NHS staff. The initiative made 68,000 meals, and the fundraising resulted in 1,400 individual donors and £75,595 total donations. Kasim said, “It was great for our sector of the community to be able to do something small to help."

  • Kelly Reardon-Brown came out of NHS "retirement" in order to help out with COVID-19 testing, alongside her role at the Clayton Hotel, working 60 hours a week, and supporting family members who were unwell. Kelly said, “It was a call of duty, and although I had not been a Biomedical Scientist for 20 years I wanted to help. I had been privileged with an amazing education and didn't hesitate on going back to the UHW to help where I could.”

Speaking of the efforts of the ten individuals, the Executive Director of FOR Cardiff, Adrian Field said that they were delighted to extend their thanks to the countless people who had helped during the pandemic.

“These unsung, hardworking heroes are keeping Cardiff’s NHS staff fed, improving community’s wellbeing, studying while working on the frontline, keeping people in isolation fed and keeping us safe," he continued.

“These ten people, and the hundred plus that were nominated, have been so generous with their time and have really rallied to support their local communities through the delivery of a wide range of services."

Maisie Lee-Bryant's painting in Cardiff after her busking efforts. Credit: ITV Cyrmu

It has also been announced that Cardiff museum will help the organisation in ensuring that stories of how people in the city reacted the pandemic are documented and available for generations to come.