Suspended from the ceiling of the medieval Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula by thin wires, the paper creations have come from as far afield as Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo, after Belgian designer Charles Kaisin asked people to send in home-made birds, or deposit them in boxes in 160 shops around Brussels.

Origami
Yves Herman / REUTERS

Each bird was matched by a donation from companies including French energy firm Engie, raising 101,625 euros ($119,744) for two units for COVID-19 patients at the Erasmus hospital in Brussels.

A Personal Touch

"I had a very serious heart surgery and I was well taken care of by this hospital. It's why I wanted to help them," Kaisin told Reuters. Kaisin also organised an art auction which raised a further 300,000 euros ($353,000)for the hospital, which he said would support its medical research, including into the side effects of potential COVID-19 treatments.

(With inputs from agencies)