YOUNG patients from a specialist children's hospital will seen see their artwork featuring on the front cover a prestigious medical journal.

Amongst the artistic patients being treated at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital is Maryann Cleary from Stockton, whose finger painting of an angel was selected for the January edition of the The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health magazine.

The seven-year-old from Stockton suffers from dystonia, a neurological movement disorder syndrome which affects her muscles and means she is unable to walk, talk or use her hands effectively.

Her mother, Kathleen Clearly, said: “Maryann loves going to school and mixing with people. Even though it is difficult for her to sit up or to use her hands, she loves colouring and making things but she needs help to create art.

“I was excited for her when we found out her artwork had been chosen. When I told her she was all smiles, and I could tell she remembered when she had done it. Maryann is very clever and even though she cannot talk she is always aware of what’s happening.

“It will give her a boost when she sees her art on the cover. She likes the attention and has got quite a competitive nature. Maryann is a little fighter. She never complains, she’s happy and likes to see people having fun. She’s an amazing little girl.”

The young artists worked on their pieces of art during art sessions led by Evelina London’s play specialists, a team specially trained in providing play for sick children and young people. They used a combination of paint, pencils, felt tips and materials such as tissue paper, glitter and leaves to make their colourful entries.

Dr Jane Godsland, editor of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, said: "We are thrilled to have been able to collaborate with the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and were overwhelmed by the inspiring entries we received. We are honoured to showcase these talented young artists on our 2018 covers.”

Cathy Gill, senior health play specialist, said: “The play team facilitate art sessions with an aim to help children and young people to cope with their feelings and any anxieties they may have. The art sessions are child centred and offer them an opportunity to express themselves freely through creative means in a therapeutic environment.

“Often our patients are unable to say how they are feeling or simply choose not to. Creative sessions give them the means to communicate in a way that feels safe to them along with giving them an opportunity to feel they have some control over their condition.

“Taking part in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal’s art competition provided all of this and more for children at Evelina London. It was exciting for them to be involved in such an important project and gave them a sense of pride to think their art work would be on the front cover of such a prestigious journal.”