ARTWORK designed to have a calming influence on anxious hospital patients has been saved from being lost forever.

Now the work, created by a group of mature Fine Art students two decades ago, has been reinstated for the next generation of patients to enjoy.

The seascape inspired work was first installed on the corridors of Essex County Hospital’s oncology department in 1998, which would be visited by cancer patients.

Now it can be seen on the walls of Colchester Hospital’s Gainsborough Wing which includes a number of care of the elderly wards and specialist medicine wards.

The colleague who was instrumental in the work being identified and moved was Lorraine Presland, ward clerk for Gainsborough Clinics.

She knows the artists who did the paintings as she was on a ceramics course at Colchester Institute while they were doing an art foundation course.

She spoke to Gainsborough Wing sister, Sue Warner, who was keen for them to be moved to brighten up the walls and take patients’ minds off why they are in hospital.

Lorraine said: “I thought I better rescue it before it disappeared.

“It’s nice for the girls to keep [the collection] together and that it’s here brightening it up.”

Wivenhoe artist Annie Bielecka was one of the group of about ten students from Colchester Institute who helped to create the original artwork at Essex County Hospital in Lexden Road, Colchester.

She said: “Ian Hay who was head of the art department was our teacher. One of our group, Dr Barbara Murray was a GP in Colchester and her husband Phil was an oncologist.

“He liked our work and he and his colleagues at the oncology department linked up because they felt the oncology department corridors there were very dull for people, often who would be waiting for bad news.

“They wanted to brighten it up so they asked us to produce the work for them.”

The group worked on a theme of the sea hoping the blue colours would have a calming influence.

Annie added: “Every piece of work was different but similar because there was a lot of blue which was a nice healing colour.”

Most of the students gathered to celebrate the work being reinstalled at Colchester Hospital on Friday.

Many have gone to be very successful artists since the original work was completed.

Annie, whose work includes paintings and textile hangings and costumes, said many of the artists stayed in contact and met yearly to catch up.

She added: “We were delighted all the art was all staying together. Hospitals need as much art as possible and we have all had different treatments at that hospital over the years and are very pleased to be able to contribute something positive back.”

Annie said she was saddened by the closure of the County Hospital, which took place last month as the site is no longer considered suitable for modern healthcare.

“It was always a much smaller hospital, I visited for eye treatments occasionally and four years ago I had radiotherapy there and used to love to see the pictures still there. We were very sorry to see the old hospital go but hope it will be put to good use.”