A celebrated Yorkshire-based sculptor thought his creative life was over following two devastating strokes.
Former English teacher Stephen Hines, who was once commissioned by the Vatican to create a sculpture of the Madonna and Child, was left unable to speak or work.
The first stroke came out of the blue – he was in the middle of a talk at a village primary school. It affected his memory and took away the use of one of his hands – he was despondent and assumed his career was over.
But against all the odds, and even in the face of a further stroke which affected his speech, he has just completed one of the biggest projects of his career – a “thank you” to The Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust specialists, who gave him his life back.
Stephen has worked tirelessly on the seven-foot tall ‘Tree of Life’ sculpture for 18 months. He refers to it as “payback time” for the care he received at The Trust’s Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and Dewsbury and District Hospital.
The sculpture sits outside the Trust HQ and Education Centre at Pinderfields.
Stephen said: “The care I received was second to none and I can’t thank the medical teams enough. I truly thought my old life was finished. To be given a second change – twice – is quite incredible.
“The sculpture carries an organ donation theme and I hope its presence will encourage other people to think about using their passing to give others a second shot of life – something I had, thanks to the care I received.”
He had the support of a stroke and rehabilitation specialist and speech therapists: “I can’t praise them enough.”
The sculpture was unveiled by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust chairman Jules Preston, who said: “This is a fantastic symbol of the care given by the staff. We are grateful to Stephen for making and donating this fabulous piece of work. I truly hope it will encourage more people to join the organ donation register.”
Some of Stephen’s previous work includes: 1980 – “Ad Verum Justem”, Marble, St Josephs, Hunslet; 1981 – “Peter and Paul” (two faces of Lennon), Stone, Peter and Paul Primnary School, Yeadon, Leeds; 1983 – “Verbum” (Madonna and Child), Stone, Life Size – Commissioned by The Vatican, cited in London (Satch End); 1983 – “The Watch”, Stone, Life Size, Valley Road, Scarborough; 1986 – “Loidis”, Stone and Glass, St John Centre, Leeds – Commissioned by French Keir; 1989 – “Plato et Aristotle”, Stone, Morley High School; 1996 – “Spirit of the School”, Stone, 3 ton, 8ft x 8ft, Woodkirk School, Leeds; 2002 – “Victims of War”, Stone, 5ft x 4ft, at the Rosebank Site, Leeds – commissioned by the Rosebank Trust.