HOSPITAL worker Holly Crawshaw, from Teignmouth, is one of the subjects of a TV programme celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

Holly, 43, who works as a porter at Torbay Hospital, has been painted by award-winning artist Mark Draisey for the BBC 1 show Extraordinary Portraits.

Presented by comedian, actor, musician and author Bill Bailey, the series marks the 75th anniversary with a series of specially commissioned and inspiring portraits of health workers.

Holly, who joined Torbay Hospital as a porter during the Covid pandemic, is paired with classicist painter Mark.

Furloughed from her long term career in hospitality, she decided to apply to work for the NHS after her daughter Renae was successfully treated for a brain tumour at the age of eight.

Holly said: ‘It was a massive surprise to be chosen for the series.

‘I had seen previous Extraordinary Portraits programmes but this one is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHS and it has been a privilege to be a part of it.

‘I met the artist Mark in London first, then we had filming at the hospital for a day in the life of my job and filming with my family on Teignmouth beach.

‘The experience was quite emotional and the reveal was amazing.

‘Mark is a caricaturist so there was a joke that the portrait would have me with a giant nose.

‘But it is incredible, so pretty.

‘I feel this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.’

Transporting vital documents, samples and people, as a porter Holly walks the equivalent of three marathons in a week around the hospital.

She said: ‘I wanted to give something back to the NHS after my daughter was on the receiving end of care from the NHS when she was eight.’

Holly was overwhelmed by the care and support her daughter and the family received.

She said: ‘It was a strange time, Renae had suffered debilitating seizures and I had to give up work to care for her.

‘It was a low grade tumour but it shouldn’t have been there.’

In 2015, Renae endured a 10 hour operation at hospital in Bristol to remove the tumour which Holly described as ‘frightening’.

After five years of remission, Renae has fully recovered.

Now aged 17, she is studying at Exeter College and working in a residential home before she hopes to start training to become a midwife.

Having started her job as a porter at the start of the pandemic, Holly said: ‘It was quite scary and intense, wearing the protective gear, I took on as many shifts as I could and was working 60 hours a week.

‘But I meet so many lovely people and it is a very rewarding role.’

She has now scaled back her hours but loves the varied nature of the job.

Award-winning artist Mark had a 30-year career as a caricaturist and illustrator, but changed paths in 2016, when he reignited his love for portrait art.

Meeting Holly and her family, Mark wrestles with how to portray and do justice to Holly and Renae’s story.

As well as exploring the art of portrait making, the series is paying tribute to and featuring the stories of NHS staff from doctors and nurses to paramedics and cleaners.

Their work, lives and personalities are being captured for posterity in a new series of portraits.

Bill said: ‘It’s been a real privilege to be part of the new series of Extraordinary Portraits.

‘Hearing the incredible stories of the staff who work in the NHS, and watching the brilliant range of featured artists at work has been a fantastic experience.’

Holly’s episode airs on BBC 1 tonight, August 21.