Help Save Mum's "Thank You NHS" Mural

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I am writing this on behalf of my Mum, Suzanne, who has spent the whole of lockdown chalking an NHS mural on the side of her end of terrace house in Tooting, London.

Mum began this mural to keep herself busy throughout the first lockdown and has continued to add to it ever since. As mum was shielding on account of a heart condition, she was not allowed to leave her house to visit the shops for groceries or for daily exercise. As with much of the population, this did begin to negatively influence Mum’s mental health.

The mural gave Mum some purpose during this tough time and gave her the opportunity to express her gratitude to the NHS for all they have done during this pandemic, and to thank them for saving her life when she was diagnosed with heart failure back in 2019. Mum suffered a minor heart attack in September 2019 that went unnoticed until October, at which point she was admitted to St George’s Hospital where she spent three weeks in the Heart Failure Unit and was later diagnosed with heart failure.

Much to Mum’s disappointment, this meant she had to give up her Job as a teacher’s assistant in a local primary school. A job that she really did love. The NHS ambulance staff and staff at St George’s Hospital saved Mum’s life, and we cannot thank them enough for what they have done, which brings me to the reason for this petition. 

The mural has received such positivity by everyone that has seen it. Mum’s neighbours that walk past the wall regularly will always stop for a socially distanced chat, and she now has regular visitors from people that live outside of the close who have accidently strolled in on their daily walks, and visitors from the care home opposite her house who have visited throughout the pandemic to speak to their loved ones through the windows of the care home. Most importantly to Mum, there is an NHS nurse that lives on the close who is so grateful. Everyone absolutely loves it. 

Despite the positivity and overall joy created by the mural, one of Mum’s neighbours has complained about the wall. Mum’s house, along with most of the other properties on the close, are social housing. The complaint was made to Optivo Housing, the company in charge of Mum’s property. False accusations of the mural being created using permanent spray paint were made and of paint being walked into neighbour’s houses. These accusations are not true nor have any of Mum’s other neighbours expressed these concerns directly to Mum. The mural has been drawn using nothing but coloured chalk and charcoal. The chalk and charcoal can be easily washed off with warm soapy water. Mum has even washed parts of the mural off herself to make amendments and correct mistakes. Mum also spends the end of every day bucketing down the path under the mural to ensure no chalk is left on the path. 

Because of this complaint and the daily phone calls from the neighbour to Optivo Housing, Mum has been ordered to wash off the mural by Friday 2nd April and has been ordered to do so herself. Mum has also been warned that should further complaints be received; it could lead to a warning and further action being taken against her.

It is to our utter disbelief, along with all the other neighbours Mum has told, that complaints have been made for antisocial behaviour for chalking a thank you message to the NHS staff that have done so much for us in the last 12 months. 

Mum is absolutely distraught by this news and cannot comprehend why this turn of events has taken place. Mum is also confused and upset by this move by one of her neighbours of 17 years. 

This petition is a plea for help. Please help us bring attention to this matter and help us fight to keep the mural up. The mural is not graffiti, it is an expression of gratitude to the NHS for all the fantastic work they have done and sacrifice they have made for us in the last 12 months. For Mum to be ordered to wash the mural off is completely unjust and an insult to our NHS. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and for (hopefully) signing the petition. 

Thank you!

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