Furloughed insurance worker using her time to support NHS heroes

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A furloughed insurance underwriter is using her free time to help support NHS workers as they battle the coronavirus pandemic on the front line.

Unable to stand on the sidelines, Sarah Hopkins decided to launch a campaign to fund her campaign "Hampers for NHS Staff" in memory of Brian Boggild, a familiar face to the community who died after contracting the virus at the age of 59.

Brian, who died on Saturday, April 11 worked at Blundellsands and Crosby railway station, and was a much-loved figure.

Sarah said that as cases continued to climb in the UK, she was concerned for her 23-year-old daughter, who suffers with asthma.

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It is something that has, at some point, touched all our lives.

From cradle to grave, the National Health Service, and the incredible professionals within it who care for us, is a part of British life.

Today, more than ever, we should cherish those who dedicate themselves to our care, heedless of their own health as they work tirelessly to care for people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses and others – employed by the NHS and any other part of health and care – we have never needed them more.

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So let’s show them some love, and create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain.

Click HERE to drop a heart on the map, and show you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS.

Thanks a million, NHS workers – we love you.

But she said she recognised the effort frontline workers are making to protect those who are vulnerable in the community, and said the campaign was to provide them with hampers as a thank you for their continued hard work.

Sarah's first step was contacting Aintree University Hospital, where 1,000 members of staff would benefit from the hamper, which will include fruit, vegetables and non-perishable products.

To get the NHS Hampers off the ground a fundraising target of £20,000 has been set, with the hopes that other hospitals will benefit from the scheme if it proves successful.

Sarah, 46, said: "I was disgusted by some of the stories I would hear about nurses being abused while visiting supermarkets. People were accusing them of being the cause of the spread.

"What makes it even worse is that people are dismissing the hard work that nurses and doctors do by saying 'it's their job, but no-one signed up for a pandemic, when they were taking their oath they had no idea what was on the horizon but they stick it out and put their lives on the line."

Using her previous experience fundraising for Cancer Research UK, Sarah reached out to her contacts to see who would be willing to help support her idea during this unprecedented situation.

The Crosby local already has jewellers and footballers on board to help support the campaign and hopes to see deliveries being made within three weeks, one for each NHS worker in need at the hospital.

Local business Premier Produce Liverpool, run by Andrew Flynn, has already volunteered to provide the fruit and vegetables for the hampers and donations for the cardboard boxes are still being finalised.

Donations from business will be rewarded with advertising on social media and inside the hampers, raising awareness for the services they provide all year round, and during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sarah said: "This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but these staff are putting their lives, their families and friends at risk every day they go to work.

"People working for the NHS have been isolated in halls of residence away from their families to protect them, which can't be easy on their mental health but it says a lot about their character.

"So this is a way to say thank you, and hopefully put a smile on their face during this time."

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The hampers will allow the frontline workers to make meals for themselves at the halls of residence where they are isolating away from their families.

Long term plans for the project include giving care packages to those working at the hospital wards at least once a week

They will include bottled water, tea, coffee as well as fresh fruit and cordial drinks.

A Twitter account has been launched, @hampers4ournhs alongside a JustGiving page.

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