Care home staff and residents have paid a heartfelt artistic tribute to nurses for their heroic efforts throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pendine Park, which operates homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon, is marking the contribution of its nursing team on International Nurses’ Day with a series of symbolic lanterns.

The annual celebration of nurses across the world is held on the anniversary of the birth of nursing trailblazer Florence Nightingale known as the Lady with the Lamp, on May 12, 1820.

Art class members at Pendine Park’s Summerhill Road site in Wrexham have been helping to shed light on the contribution of nurses by creating the distinctive lanterns.

They are being presented to each of their homes in Wrexham, complete with an image of Florence Nightingale.

In a further gesture of gratitude, nursing staff and residents can tuck into scores of cupcakes made by Pendine Park’s catering team to mark the occasion.

Lyn Madayag, a senior nurse at the Penybryn care home in Wrexham, was touched by the appreciative gestures as she was shown the lanterns and cupcakes.

“It is very nice to see what they have done and how much they appreciate what we do,” said Lyn, who has worked for Pendine Park for 17 years.

“I am impressed by the lanterns they have made. They have been making them for a few days and they look very good.

“It is also nice that they have made cakes as well. I wish to thank them for what they have been doing.

“But it is not just International Nurses’ Day that they show us here how much they appreciate us. It is every day.”

International Nurses’ Day takes on extra poignancy this year because of the challenges faced by the nursing community in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staff and residents at Pendine Park have wished to celebrate the efforts nurses have gone to throughout the pandemic, as well as in more routine times.

Speaking about her work, Lyn said: “You need to have a passion in doing the things that you do.

“As a nurse you can be a counsellor, a mother or a sister.

“The last year has been very difficult because of the pandemic.

“It is good that international Nurses’ Day is held so people can thank all nurses for what they do.”

Mark Cartwright, a resident of Penybryn, was one of the art class members who helped create the lanterns.

“The nurses here do a marvellous job,” said Mark, who has been a Pendine Park resident for about 13 years.

“I wanted to say thank you to them for everything they do.

“I have enjoyed helping to make these lanterns.”

Echoing Mark’s views was his classmate and fellow Penybryn resident Tony Ithell, who has been prominently involved in making the lanterns.

“We have been busy making them this week. I have enjoyed it,” said Tony

“The nurses are great. I want to thank them for what they do here.”

Art class members have been working under the guidance of Pendine Park’s artist in residence, Sarah Edwards.

As well as the lanterns, the aspiring artists have been creating bunting with special thank you messages for the nurses.

Each home is displaying a tree with handmade decorations on the International Nurses’ Day theme

Sarah said: “The lamps are our take on the tradition of having a symbolic lamp passed between nurses until it reaches the Nurses’ Chapel.

“It is then placed on the High Altar in Westminster Abbey.

“This symbolises the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another.

“Although it is not possible for the lamps to be passed across the home, we have been making one for each home to display instead.”

The lanterns act as a tribute to the life and work of Florence Nightingale, fondly remembered as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’.

“We have a picture of Florence Nightingale on the lanterns and we are recognising her contribution to healthcare,” said Sarah.

“Her work is very relevant at the moment in the pandemic as she saw the importance of washing your hands.

“The residents have worked very hard and everybody has played their part in creating something to go on display.

“The day is a mini-celebration of what the nurses do here. After the year we have all had we want to show appreciation for all our nurses do for Pendine Park.”

The icing on the cake for the nurses has been provided by Pendine Park’s catering team.

Chef Karen Rayner has been busy making hundreds of cupcakes for staff and residents to enjoy on International Nurses’ Day.

“The nurses here have been doing a really good job,” said Karen.

“I’m just glad to be able to do something to say thank you to them.

“I greatly appreciate the work they have been doing.”

Pendine Park director Gill Hughes, who’s been on the nursing register for 45 years, said: “We recently said farewell to one of our residents, retired nurse Hilda Richards, after she passed away at 103 years of age.

“She cared for injured soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940 and her indomitable spirit epitomised all that is best about the nursing profession.

“ I have seen a lot of changes over the years but the fundamentals of nursing have not changed because the best nurses are kind hearted and compassionate.

“The current generation of nurses here at Pendine have also honoured the profession with their dedication and skill that has been tested to the limit over the past year.

“They have once again gone above and beyond the call of duty and I pay tribute to them all.”