Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex, Colonel in Chief QARANC and Patron of the QARANC Association honoured the Corps by unveiling a painting by Mr Stuart Brown titled ‘What Matters Most’.
The painting was commissioned by the QARANC Association to help capture the significant contribution made by Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps on Operation GRITROCK which deployed in support of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone late in 2014. The unveiling formed part of the Chief Nursing Officer’s Study Day which was attended by over 150 QARANC delegates selected from the range of ranks specialities and locations.
The Army deployed in support of Operation GRITROCK in 2014, with the hospital contingent led by 22 Field Hospital whose Commanding Officer at the time was Colonel Alison McCourt OBE ARRC L/QARANC. The mission to control the Ebola outbreak was deemed to be successful. In order to record the clinical contribution to the mission and to mark its historical significance Lieutenant Colonel Mark Bailey RAMC led a project to commission two oil paintings. The artist Mr Stuart Brown was commissioned to create two paintings one with a clinical emphasis and the other represents another aspect of the tour. ‘What Matters Most’ captures a poignant bedside scene on Operation GRITROCK.
The second painting titled ‘The Ebola Survivor Dance’ gave an opportunity to deal with a happier aspect of the mission.
Lieutenant Colonel Bailey sought advice and feedback from in excess of 50 Operation GRITROCK veterans with clinical staff preferring the first and non-clinical staff preferring the second.
A team of veterans have continued to work with the artist Mr Stuart Brown to examine the finer detail of each painting and ensure accuracy in so far as possible. As the draft sketches were released last October 2015 the RAMC Association and QARANC Association were asked to consider which painting they wished to fund.
It was decided that the QARANC Association would fund ‘What Matters Most’ and the RAMC agreed to fund the ‘The Ebola Survivor Dance’. The latter picture will not be completed until 2017 but it is hoped that the completed works of art will be co-located. Prints of ‘What Matters Most’ are available to purchase from the Museum of Military Medicine.