Brighton Mural Brightens Up Children’s Hospital

A group of art and design students from Sussex Downs College have created a picture-perfect postcard mural of Brighton, for poorly children at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex).

The three students; Niamh Fitzsimmons, Felicity Richardson and Brianna Kelly, all aged 18, are each studying for an Art & Design Diploma at the Sussex Downs College campus in Lewes.

Supported by their tutor James DiBiase, they partnered with Rockinghorse children’s charity to transform a plain wall at the Alex into a vibrant seaside painting. The trio were given a creative brief to work from, having met with representatives from the Alex and Rockinghorse.

Together the three students designed, drew and painted the piece to benefit young patients admitted to the Surgical Ward on level eight of the children’s hospital. 

The mural features a host of Brighton landmarks and tourist attractions, including the Pavilion, along with both the West Pier and Palace Pier. It also pays tribute to the Rockinghorse charity with the addition of brightly coloured carousel horses, aptly named after members of the team.

Hollie Trezise is the Schools and Community Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse. She helped coordinate the project and says, “It has been a real pleasure working with James and his Art & Design students again this year. Over the last few years, we have worked with Sussex Downs College students to brighten the walls of the Alex, and they always do such a fantastic job.

“This year’s mural is no exception and the Surgical Ward staff have been pleasantly surprised at how professional it looks. It really has transformed what was quite a dull corridor into a wonderfully colourful area, and the painting is already bringing lots smiles to the faces of young patients on the ward.”

The students gave up their time to create the Brighton-themed mural, which will contribute to their Art & Design Diploma coursework. Artist Niamh Fitzsimmons really enjoyed the experience. She says, “It has been very rewarding and has allowed me to gain insight in working to a real life brief. It was gratifying to see how the staff and patients reacted to the mural throughout the painting process.”

Fellow artist, Felicity Richardson, says, “It has been so much fun working as part of a team and I’m so proud of what we’ve created. I’m really thankful for the support we received from the nurses and play team on the ward, the Rockinghorse charity, and all our teachers at college. I hope the patients and their parents feel the same joy that we do when we look at it”

Brianna Kelly was the third artist to work on the mural. She adds, “Thank you to the Alex and Rockinghorse for providing us with such an amazing opportunity. I loved being able to produce such a bright and colourful addition to the ward.”

Rockinghorse is best known as the official fundraising arm of the Alex and aims to make life better for sick and disadvantaged children in Sussex. The charity raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment, whilst also funding services and items to ensure that children are treated in an environment better suited to their needs.

To find out more about the charity, visit