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 that gave him his life back.
Stephen Hines has worked tirelessly on the seven-foot tall ‘Tree of Life’ sculpture for the past 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 is set to sit outside the Trust HQ and Education Centre within the grounds of Pinderfields Hospital.
Stephen Hines said: “The care I received was absolutely 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.”
Stephen Hines spent weeks being treated in both hospitals. With the support of stroke and rehabilitation specialist, speech therapists and other healthcare teams, he was able to make a steady recovery.
He remembers nothing of the original stroke which occurred.
Stephen Hines said: “A teacher at the school said afterwards that I repeated myself a bit but I remember nothing of it and after the talk I loaded the car up and drove home.
“When my wife got home all my left side had stopped working so they rushed me to hospital. I couldn’t praise them enough.”
The sculpture will be unveiled by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Chairman Jules Preston together with the artist and many of the staff that treated him on his long road to recovery.
Jules Preston said: “I feel the sculpture will be a fantastic symbol of the care given by the thousands of staff that work at the Trust. We’re very 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 in the future and give others a second chance of life.”
Stephen Hines donated a smaller sculpture to Dewsbury and District Hospital in 2013.