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Striking golden oak unveiled at Dorset County Hospital

A glistening golden oak has been installed at Dorset County Hospital – and it represents a very powerful message.

The sculpture, named ‘Precious Scars’, has been installed to recognise the incredible gift of life given by organ donors, with the support of their families.

The sculpture, located in one of the hospital’s courtyards, is a permanent reminder of the life-changing difference organ and tissue donation can have on individuals and their families, and to encourage people to sign up as organ donors themselves.

The project has been the initiative of the Organ Donation team at Dorset County Hospital, led by Consultant Anaesthetist, Andy Ball, and Specialist Nurse, Helen Rose, in conjunction with the Arts in Hospital team.

Artist Andy Kirkby is the mastermind behind Precious Scars, with the sculpture taking him over a year to complete.

Selected from more than 100 other artists, Mr Kirkby took the theme of organ donation and renewed life to produce the striking sculpture.

Using a tree from the Lulworth Estate, where it died some time ago, Mr Kirkby restored and ‘healed’ the scars in the trunk using inspiration from the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken ceramics are lovingly restored with gold resin to highlight their wounds rather than to try to hide them.

The trunk is set on an industrial base to blend with the industrial look of the courtyard from the air-conditioning units.

A special event was held on Tuesday to officially unveil the new artwork. It was attended by the families of organ donors whose loved ones gave the incredible gift of life, Mr Kirkby, as well as staff members of Dorset County Hospital.

Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at Dorset County Hospital, Dr Ball said: “For some time I have wanted to provide a memorial to celebrate the fantastic gift that our organ donors and their families have made to allow others to have a second chance at life.

“We are keen to fulfil our patients’ wishes to donate their organs and we do not want to miss the opportunity of being able to transform someone else’s life. One donor could help at least six people live a better life.

“I would like this sculpture to empower everyone to register their choice about organ and tissue donation and to discuss this with their relatives and friends, hopefully changing more lives.”

“Anyone who would like to register as a donor can do so online at”

Mr Kirkby added: “The challenge of where art can be found and how it can function beyond the aesthetic remains an exciting prospect to all artists.”

“It’s been a pleasure to work on a project with such an important message to convey.”

Discover more about Andy Kirkby’s work at

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