Telford College creative students have been praised for their newly launched art exhibition, paying tribute to ‘local heroes’ from across Shropshire.

The students have been working for several months with The Veterans’ Orthopaedic Service to create an artwork exhibition called Honouring Our Heroes.

It features works in various media including paint, print, digital, textiles, mixed media and ceramics which will be on display at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen,

The exhibition was inspired by TV and celebrity initiatives such as Portrait Artist of the Year, Thomas Croft’s ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ project during lockdown, and Bill Bailey’s BBC series Extraordinary Portraits, celebrating NHS heroes.

It was launched with a private viewing event for specially-invited guests, and is now open to the public for the rest of this month.

Johnathan Abbott, Telford College’s learner manager for creative and music, said: “The private view was a great success, and it was lovely to meet the students, parents and the subjects of the portraits themselves. The feedback from everyone was so positive.”

Tutor Anna Bartlett said the college was very proud of the exhibition and all the hard work the students had put in.

“It’s a wonderful display of all forms of creative work that is a very impressive representation of some very special people. It’s vital that we all take the time to recognise the bravery and sacrifice of so many, and our exhibition is a reminder of the service which all kinds of people have given.”

The Veterans’ Orthopaedic Service began at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry in 2013, led by Lieutenant Colonel Carl Meyer.

He commissioned the students at Telford College to create portraits for a broad range of staff at the hospital – from surgeons, doctors and nurses, to veteran volunteers, league of friends and cleaning technicians.

The medical photographer at the hospital took photos of the staff and, where possible, a brief statement was produced to describe their background.

Telford College tutor Claire Routledge said: “As part of their course work and work experience, students from our art and design courses selected a name out of a hat to be the subject of their portrait project.

“They took part in workshops before choosing the material and technique they wanted to use to create their portrait, and we now have 52 portraits in a range of sizes and formats.

“It has been a fantastic experience for our students and we’re delighted to have worked with the veterans and the support service.”

The core aims of the Veterans’ Orthopaedic Service are to provide veterans with ‘gold standard’ orthopaedics, provided by a military-led team with welfare support.

It treats more veterans than any other hospital-based service with over 30,000 veterans receiving care since 2013. The service is provided completely within the NHS, receiving no external support.

It has the unswerving support of the hospital board, the CEO and hospital staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital. Many hospital staff have no direct military link but strongly support the military personnel.

A selection of the students’ creations on display.

That’s me up there! Gordon Williams and Anya Bayliss-Powell.

Mia Vickers with her work.

Sidra Almustafa with her portrait.

Stephen Milgate with Lisa Owen.

Lieutenant Colonel Carl Meyer speaks at the launch.