In Pictures

Coronavirus: Rainbow portraits thank the NHS

Children and their rainbow paintings Image copyright Tom Skipp

When the country began social distancing and then lockdown, photographer Tom Skipp was due to visit his mother, who lives in a care home about four hours' drive from him, for Mother's Day. No longer able to travel, instead of making the trip on that Sunday, he photographed the many rainbows that had sprung up in and around Bristol.

"In the following week, news of the situation in care homes became darker and darker," Skipp says.

"The rainbows stand for something so hopeful and positive.

"The support for the NHS will not be lost on my mum, after she spent 40 years in their service.

"I wanted to recognise and credit the creators of the rainbows and spread the hope they'd given me to more people.

"As I worked on the project, many of the kids told me that they were making Lego that day, exactly what I used to do with my mum."

Here are a selection of pictures from the project, which Skipp has dedicated to his mother, Kate.

Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "This is Indy, with his rainbow. He drew it with the help of a step-ladder. He is really happy to be spending time with his mum... when he has to be indoors. He is also a very cool young man who made me my own rainbow, which I am displaying in my window."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Millie, Sophia and Maddie coloured the bricks all the way across their adjoining houses. It made it look like one home, bringing them together."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Ave wrote: "Even though we have the coronavirus to deal with, we can still have a smile on our face, with a rainbow."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Gabe wrote: "Be happy always."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Ella and Alix have used their window to celebrate Dad's birthday and thank the NHS. On my second trip to their house, Alix was wearing rainbow gloves, jumper, leggings and sunglasses."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Huey had just made a Lego spaceship, that he's holding, so that we could go up to space. It reminded me that I used to make Lego with my mum, which I'd leave strewn over the floor."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Asked what the best thing about having to be at home all the time was, Isla (right) said: "Spending more time with my family... but I miss my friends."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Frank, with his message of hope.
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption George, from ITV's Rainbow programme, says: "Stay home,' as Freida does exactly that.
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Xander wrote: "We love you, BS3"
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "When Finn found out that somebody wanted to take a photo of him in the window he had created, he was very excited. He asked if it would be OK if he dressed up as a superhero. I was greeted by Spider-Man."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Ivy and Erin - it took them two days to make their rainbow. For them, home-schooling is better than real school - but they miss their friends."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Toby and Lara are still going to school, because their mum is a doctor. When I met them after the school day, they were really tired because they had been doing 'sports' all day. They lit up when they got to the window - they worry about their mum working in the NHS."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Theo made his rainbow at school and found the shiny paper in a drawer. Today, he is making a Lego police ship which has 3,000 pieces. He once counted up to 1,000 - he started at breakfast time and it took him until lunch."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Remy coloured in Sonic the Hedgehog and Etienne coloured in Knuckles. They are creating a 'lockdown journal' to record what they are currently living through - and they might put these photos in it too."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Lawton and Teddy at the window with their rainbow.
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Indiana is standing where The Captain the spaniel normally sits - he has had to move. Indiana taught me that the photographer needs to be ready, because she was - as soon as her hands hit the window."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "Athy made his rainbow in two pieces before he put it in the window, Branwen's rainbow was smaller and might be in a drawer somewhere. Athy was fascinated by my camera and wanted to know how much it would zoom in and out. I described it to him but said I'd have to come back to show him, another time."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Hopi making Lego in his window.
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "It only took Alice 10 minutes to make her rainbow. We had to be very careful and stay well away from each other because someone in her family is a doctor and was self-isolating."
Image copyright Tom Skipp
Image caption Skipp says: "It's been amazing actually meeting so many local people as a result of it. The reaction has been way bigger than I expected. I'm now friends with all the neighbours."

All photographs courtesy Tom Skipp.