Bristol legend Big Jeff paints artwork for hospital treating him for burns

'Big Jeff' at work on the window at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

A famous gig-goer from Bristol, who was badly injured in a house fire, has been painting a window at Southmead Hospital while he recovers.

Jeff Johns, known as "Big Jeff" suffered 50% burns in a cooking accident at his home in Totterdown in June. He has said that he was burned "within an inch of his life".

Jeff was initially treated at a specialist burns unit in Swansea before being transferred to Southmead in August.

'Big Jeff' at the Love Saves the Day festival in Bristol in June 2022. Credit: ITV West Country

Jeff would normally attend gigs most nights, making him one of the most prolific concertgoers in the country but whilst he is an in-patient he is only attending soundchecks with friends.

On Saturday 19 November he was able to take in some of the Bristol Takeover at the Bristol Beacon.

He has also used his artistic talents to aid the healing process and begun playing the drums and drawing as part of his therapy.

Occupational therapist Helen Barnes said, "We've got some paper up so he does that to work on his range of movement and work on his standing but we'll just play on his drum kit or we'll do a number of things."

The dedicated music fan is a popular artist who has had several exhibitions and, when hospital staff, saw his distinctive, colourful and uplifting style, they commissioned him to paint a window near the entrance to the hospital.

Jeff hopes to raise money for Fresh Arts, the arts programme for North Bristol NHS Trust, which aims “to harness the power of creativity and the arts to make a positive difference to our patients, visitors and staff”.

The artwork has helped 'Big Jeff' with his physiotherapy, particularly as it has made him exercise his left hand when drawing. Credit: Simon Holliday

On his fundraising page, Big Jeff said, "During this time I have been encouraged and supported with regaining my creativity. I have painted on my window in my room and have had an electric drum kit installed to help with my physio.

"I enjoy walking through the ground floor of the hospital looking at the art exhibitions and listening to the piano being played.

"I have recently been commissioned to paint a window at the entrance to the hospital. I would like to give something back to the hospital by highlighting the great work that Fresh Arts do!"

Jeff still has some procedures to go before he can be discharged but hopes he will be home, with support, before too long.