Britain says thanks with outpouring of gifts for NHS workers and police

30 March 2020, 14:45

Gifts and care packages have been sent to frontline workers to show appreciation for their efforts
Gifts and care packages have been sent to frontline workers to show appreciation for their efforts. Picture: Twitter
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

The people of Britain have been saying thanks to frontline workers who are battling the coronavirus crisis with an outpouring of gifts, food and extra help designed to make their lives easier.

Care packages have come in many forms from neighbours, small businesses and bigger firms - including hot meals cooked by members of local communities, sweet treats for night shifts, and toiletries for those working long hours.

Ben Hudson, a consultant radiologist in Bath, said he was "close to tears" after opening his front door to find a collection of meals cooked by his neighbour Emma.

He said he and his wife, also a consultant radiologist, had been "preparing for a surge" in cases of coronavirus at their local hospital, and that the gift of home cooked shepherd's pie, a curry and banana bread had left them feeling "very grateful".

"The banana bread looks like it's not going to make it through dawn," he later said of the treat.

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Meanwhile, Amir Khan, an NHS doctor from Leeds, said his mother was currently in self-isolation, but it hadn't stopped her making a feast for him and colleagues at his surgery.

He said: "She is in isolation but has made LOTS of pakoras, samosas, curry and rice as well as an assortment of dips and salads.

"She's left them on her doorstep for me to collect and give to all the hardworking staff at our surgery."

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One woman living in east London said her mother had initially showed her appreciation for frontline workers by leaving a chocolate bar on the doorstep for her postman.

She later baked an entire Victoria sponge and left it on her doorstep for the bin men collecting her rubbish.

"She deserves the world," her daughter wrote on Twitter alongside pictures of the sponge.

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Liz O'Riordan, a breast cancer surgeon and survivor of breast cancer herself, said she was brought to tears after a local nursery in Bury St Edmunds sent a bouquet of flowers.

With the gift was a poem that read: "Here's a little flower with love from us to you.

"We hope it will keep you smiling all spring and summer through.

"It will need a little water and likes a bit of sun.

"We hope you will accept it and see a good turn done."

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A police department in northeast London tweeted its thanks to Costco on Monday for sending hundreds of cans of Coca Cola and two sheet cakes to its officers.

The cakes - one chocolate and one vanilla - had a messaged piped on top that said: "Thanks for your hard work. Remember to wash your hands."

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Another former NHS worker - now returning as a volunteer - said a neighbour's gift with a bottle of wine and a note to apologise for not joining in a recent nationwide round of applause for healthcare workers had "brought tears to my eyes".

She said: "Well this brought tears to my eyes. A bottle of wine left on my step by a neighbour and an apology that they haven't joined in the applause, but wanted to thank me for my work.

"Although I worked in the NHS for 37 years, I am now there in a volunteer capacity - humbled."

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The note tied to neck of the bottle read: "Dear Alison, we missed the 8pm applause so here's our equivalent.

"Hope you enjoy and when you drink it you can 'hear' how much we appreciate what you and your colleagues are doing!"

The care packages and gifts being sent across the country have become just one part of a collective show of appreciation toward frontline workers amid the pandemic.

It comes after the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recently confirmed that around a quarter of NHS doctors were now off work sick or in isolation.

Over the weekend, the first UK doctor to die after contracting the virus was also named.

Amged El-Hawrani, 55, was an associate clinical director and ear, nose and throat consultant at Queen's Hospital in Burton upon Trent.

He died on Saturday at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.