Billericay artist paints portrait of local hospice nurse in support of frontline workers

A local artist has painted a beautiful portrait of a local hospice nurse as part of a creative national campaign to thank keyworkers for their work during the pandemic.

The Billericay based artist, Sarah Hill, was inspired to draw a frontline worker by Oxford-based artist Tom Croft who has become well known for starting a campaign on Instagram dubbed ‘#PortraitsForNHSHeroes’ which involves artists painting portraits of keyworkers.

After requesting people to nominate a keyworker for her to paint, Sarah’s sister Cerena Ashwell nominated her friend Susie May, a member of the Fair Havens Hospice at Home Team, whose role is to care for patients with complex or incurable conditions out in the community. Susie has worked for Havens Hospices for 14 years, starting out by volunteering and then working in fundraising until 18 months ago when she became a Hospice at Home Nursing Assistant.

Cerena’s nomination was a touching tribute to Susie. She said, “For being their light in the darkness, their strength through the pain, their compassion in fear and their hope during loneliness. For always putting others first, for showing bravery and sacrifice. For everything you do, thank you.”

Sarah says, “As an artist I wanted to use this opportunity to show my appreciation for the frontline workers, by offering a free portrait. I know just how hard everybody works at Havens Hospices, in often emotionally tough situations even before the pandemic. Susie is such a caring and compassionate soul, so it was an absolute pleasure to paint her; smiling still, even behind a mask.”

Susie said, “When I first saw the painting, I thought it was absolutely amazing. Sarah is so incredibly talented, and I just felt so appreciated especially during these tough times during the Coronavirus. I love my job and this is something I have always wanted to do.”

The Fair Havens Hospice at Home Team is still caring for patients within their home during the pandemic and is running at full capacity. All of this care remains free of charge, which can only continue thanks to the generosity of local people making donations, taking part in fundraising events and leaving gifts in their Wills.

To find out how to support Havens Hospices during this time, visit

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The portrait of Susie at work wearing a face mask