A MASTER craftsman spent 300 hours creating a wood carving portraying “angel” healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic

Burgess Hill woodcarver Roy Martin spent six weeks crafting the plaque during the coronavirus lockdown as his business halved at the peak of the crisis.

Crafted from Sussex oak, the plaque portrays an NHS “angel” with a face mask decorated with a rainbow and a dove depicting hope.

“Work has been difficult these past few months and as nice as it was to clap for carers on a Thursday night, I wanted to use my hands and time to create something tangible that showed my appreciation,” said 50-year-old Roy, who has been honing his craft since he was 15 years old.

“I wanted to make the most of this time.

“The idea was to craft something that captures the incredible care and kindness they’ve shown in these tough times.

The Argus: Roy hopes to auction off replicas of the plaque for charityRoy hopes to auction off replicas of the plaque for charity

“The design elements were inspired by the idea that NHS nurses are ‘angels without faces’.

“The wood carving is based on images of NHS staff fighting the virus on the frontline.”

Now Roy hopes to hand over the plaque to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to recognise the hard work of healthcare workers in the coronavirus pandemic.

“If the Prime Minister is willing to accept my work and even endorse it, we may have the opportunity to make people smile,” he said.

“The NHS and key workers deserve recognition.

“I really hope we can give them a lasting thank you and this will in the long term benefit worthy charities.”

Roy also hopes to replicate the plaque and sell it to raise vital funds for charities hit hard by the pandemic.

He carved the plaque at his Hurstpierpoint workshop with the help of John Nicholas, who gave the carving a final polish.

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund