A girl whose 'life was saved' by Furness General Hospital's Children's Ward has taken to painting to raise money for the ward - and to raise awareness of another important cause.

Lara Gaskell, 16, from Dalton, was ‘shocked and upset’ when she saw George Floyd being brutally killed by police in America, and wanted to use her skills to spread awareness as well as raise money for charity.

She said: “Hearing about George Floyd’s death made me very angry and sad. I created the paintings to express this.

“At school we learnt about slavery and apartheid and I thought that was in the past.

“I have black and mixed race family members and it scares me that something could happen to them because of the colour of their skin

“Black Lives Matter is about human beings, real people with feelings and what is happening to them is causing them pain, which isn’t just physical, and I want to make people realise that black people are at risk.

“Black Lives Matter isn’t just for black people, it’s for everyone that cares that people are treated with respect and not bullied or hurt because they have black skin.

“The more people get involved the more changes can be made and I am going to continue to support Black Lives Matter.”

However, Miss Gaskell is auctioning her Black Lives Matter paintings on eBay for another cause close to her heart.

She said: “A few years ago I was really ill and was in the Children’s Ward at Furness General twice for a few weeks.

“They saved my life and supported my mum and dad when they thought I was going to die.

“The nurses were so kind and did everything they could to stop me being scared and the doctors worked hard to find out what was wrong with me.”

Miss Gaskell is auctioning her artwork to raise money for the Furness General Hospital Children’s Ward as well as The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Miss Gaskell hopes her artwork teaches people the importance of kindness and looking after one another.

She said: “I really hope that my paintings sell and that people see them and it makes them think about how important it is to look after each other. Looking after children and educating them about racism is really important.”

If you would like to donate, you can via PayPal at maihpark@gmail.com or bid for the artwork on eBay.