A new fund that buys protective kit for NHS and care staff soared past £5million last night.
The astonishing total was reached thanks to a surge in donations from generous Daily Mail readers and philanthropists.
In just three days, more than 10,000 of you have pledged money to Mail Force, a charity leading a campaign to bring life-saving kit to workers on the coronavirus front line.
Staff nurse Christie Church, 23, is pictured with a Mail Force charity PPE Delivery outside CHAS’s Robin House in Balloch, Scotland
HERE’S HOW TO DONATE
Mail Force Charity has been launched with one aim to help support NHS staff, volunteers and care workers fight back against Covid-1 in the UK.
Mail Force is a separate charity established and supported by the Daily Mail and General Trust.
The money raised will fund essential equipment required by the NHS and care workers.
This equipment is vital in protecting the heroic staff whilst they perform their fantastic work in helping the UK overcome this pandemic.
If we raise more money than is needed for vital Covid-1 equipment, we will apply all funds to support the work of the NHS in other ways.
Click the button below to make a donation:
If the button is not visible, click here
Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport firm Stagecoach, yesterday said he would match donations from readers up to £500,000.
By last night you had given almost £400,000 online.
Mail Force – created by the Mail and its partners – has also received 1,100 cheques by post.
The Duchess of Cornwall made a personal donation to the cause, saying: ‘I’m delighted to contribute towards this magnificent campaign.’
Mail Force was also backed by two former prime ministers, Sir John Major and Gordon Brown, and singer Sir Cliff Richard, who said he was thrilled to offer his support.
As Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that 122,347 virus tests were carried out on Thursday:
- The UK death toll rose by 739 to 27,510, just below Italy’s total;
- Millions of air passengers were warned they face waiting months to get refunds;
- Individual towns and cities could be put back in lockdown if cases rise when restrictions are relaxed;
- Leading doctors said a drug they are testing to treat the virus could pave the way for the lockdown to be lifted by mid-summer.
The Mail Force consignment of PPE medical equipment is pictured in Shanghai as it is loaded aboard a Mail chartered plane to London on Tuesday
Mail Force’s campaign began in earnest only on Tuesday night, when it flew an airliner packed with 20 tons of personal protective equipment from Shanghai to London. The £1million cargo filled the hold and cabin of the chartered airliner.
Why great and the good back Mail Force
Support for our campaign flooded in from across the country, including messages from prominent figures
Duchess of Cornwall: ‘I’m delighted to contribute towards this magnificent campaign.’
Sir John Major: ‘I am delighted that the Daily Mail has launched Mail Force as an independent charity to provide PPE to the NHS, and that it is working so closely with the NHS and the Department of Health. At this moment, such an initiative has a vital role in saving the lives of frontline medical teams and the very sick, avoiding heartache and misery for many thousands of families and friends.
Gordon Brown: ‘We must support those who risk their lives to save lives – and I welcome the Mail’s important initiative to ensure the supply of proper protective equipment that is essential to the safety of our heroic health service workforce.’
Sir Cliff Richard: ‘It is great to see Mail Force’s huge efforts in providing the essential PPE to the NHS workers so far. In times of crisis, we all need to pull together, and this is such a positive campaign.’
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs: ‘We welcome any initiative that helps frontline workers receive the appropriate, certified PPE equipment they need and ensures that deliveries are sustainable during the pandemic.’
The 50,000 medical coveralls and 100,000 masks quickly cleared customs and went straight to an NHS distribution centre in the Midlands.
After further checks, the first consignments were despatched to a hospital, an ambulance trust and two care homes.
Yesterday the Mail reported on the delight of staff at Shedfield Lodge care home in Hampshire following a Mail Force delivery.
Their reserves of face masks would have run out tomorrow because of multiple failures in the supply chain.
Thanks to the speed and scale of public support for Mail Force, plans are under way to bring further airlifts of PPE to Britain.
The charity has worked with the Department of Health to identify key products and seek fresh supplies from reliable sources.
Mail Force, which was set up specifically to tackle the shortage of PPE, received a huge boost from Stagecoach’s Sir Brian yesterday.
The Scottish businessman, whose charitable trust has raised more than £98million for 13,000 good causes, said: ‘The generosity of Daily Mail readers over the past few days has been both humbling and moving to me personally.
This is why I want to offer my support to Mail Force, which is protecting the very people who are saving our lives during this pandemic.
‘At times of great hardship like this, it is immensely gratifying to see that thousands are donating so generously to such a worthy charity. It is greatly heartening to see that the British public is once again uniting to help overcome this medical emergency.’
Sir Brian, 65, who lives in Perth with his wife and children, highlighted the great risk that NHS and care workers take every time they go to work. He added: ‘They need all the help they can get from all of us.’
On the online public donations page, reader Janet Handley summed up the public mood. She wrote: ‘Well done the Daily Mail and all involved in getting vital PPE to the front line both in hospitals, care homes and hospices.’
Ian and Sue Blades added: ‘Great effort on behalf of Mail Force and we are very happy to contribute to ensuring our care staff are adequately protected.’
Now PPE kit lands at hospice after nurses and care home get vital Mail Force gear
By Mario Ledwith and Arthur Martin for The Daily Mail
It has already made its way to NHS nurses and care workers leading the fight against coronavirus.
Now a consignment of personal protective equipment brought to Britain as part of the Mail Force campaign has been handed over to a hospice treating Covid-19 patients.
Staff at the Mountbatten Hampshire centre said they were ‘overwhelmed’ by last night’s delivery of thousands of life-saving masks and coveralls.
The kit arrived just days after the independent facility, which relies heavily on charitable donations, launched an urgent appeal for funds and equipment.
A healthy stockpile of PPE is essential for the hospice in Southampton, which cares for up 21 in-patients as well as hundreds of others in the community.
Matt White, from the charitable hospice, said: ‘We are really pleased to receive this and very grateful to the newspaper for thinking of us.
Care nurses Ellie Osman, Kim Compton and Donna Guthrie are pictured with a Mail Force delivery of PPE at Countess Mountbatten Hospice in Hampshire
Warehouse operative Alison Hamilton, 54, is pictured with a box of the facemasks from a Mail Force PPE delivery at the NHS National Procurement site in Lanarkshire
‘It is reassuring to know we have plenty of stock for our staff. We are working in an extremely difficult environment and to have one less thing to worry about can make all the difference.’
The hospice has offered its beds to coronavirus patients since the beginning of the outbreak and has treated several infected patients.
The virus has led to the need for increased vigilance among staff, who have been changing protective clothing as often as possible.
The delivery to the hospice took place 24 hours after Mail Force – a charity set up by the Daily Mail and its partners – supplied two care homes with badly needed PPE.
Safety kit was given to Shedfield Lodge care home in Hampshire – just three days before staff were due to run out of face masks.
Many of the duty staff, along with beaming resident David Stephenson, 88, came out to see the Mail Force van arriving with boxes of coveralls and masks on Thursday.
We’ve got you covered: Maria Willis and Megan Wills with David Stephenson, 88, at Shedfield Lodge care home in Hampshire
Maria Willis, 32, head of care at the home near Southampton for 29 elderly residents with dementia, said: ‘This is a huge weight off all our minds. It’s just amazing.’
A separate consignment of 9,000 medical masks and 80 full-body coveralls helped lift the ‘daily fear’ for staff at The Meadow in Muswell Hill, north London.
Meanwhile, delighted NHS workers took delivery of the first protective clothing delivery in Scotland from the Mail Force charity yesterday.
Staff at the NHS Distribution Centre in Lanarkshire welcomed the arrival of face masks and coveralls, describing the PPE as ‘the difference between life and death’.
The boxes travelled up from London following the arrival of the maiden charity flight from China as part of a delivery for Scottish hospitals and care homes. Workers unloaded the first parcel at 11am.
Latest coronavirus video news, views and expert advice at mailplus.co.uk/coronavirus
Five star: Maria Ponteaux, Megan Wills, Maria Willis, Lisa Smith and Nikki McCrudden applaud their new kit at the Shedfield Lodge care home, near Southampton, yesterday
Stagecoach boss: I’ll match pledges by Mail readers (that’s £400,000 so far)
One of Britain’s most successful businessmen last night made the extraordinary pledge to match every pound donated by Mail readers to help buy vital protective kit.
Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport company Stagecoach, yesterday said he would back donations from readers up to £500,000.
The Scottish businessman, whose charitable trust has raised more than £98million for 13,000 good causes, said: ‘The generosity of the Daily Mail readers over the past few days has been both humbling and moving to me personally.
‘This is why I want to offer my support to Mail Force, which is protecting the very people who are saving our lives during this pandemic. At times of great hardship like this, it is immensely gratifying to see that thousands are donating so generously to such a worthy charity.
‘I have been raising money for charity for decades and it is greatly heartening to see that the British public is once again uniting to help overcome this medical emergency.’
Last night the online charity appeal had reached almost £400,000 as messages of support continued to flood in. Transport mogul Sir Brian, 65, built up an estimated £1billion fortune after a modest beginning on a council estate.
Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport company Stagecoach, yesterday said he would back donations from Mail readers up to £500,000
The Perth-born businessman founded bus company Stagecoach with his sister Dame Ann Gloag, 77, in 1980. The siblings started with a small fleet of second-hand buses running inter-city services in Scotland.
Dame Ann bought a school bus, while Sir Brian used his father’s redundancy money to buy two coaches. Within 15 years, the company had expanded so rapidly that it was worth more than £130million.
And it is now claimed to be Britain’s biggest bus, coach and tram operator, employing 24,000 people and owning 8,300 vehicles.
But in December last year, the siblings revealed they were stepping down from the company they had founded.
Stagecoach announced Sir Brian will step down as chairman but remain on the board, while Dame Ann will retire completely. Sir Brian said he wanted to ‘spend time on my other interests and with my family’.
He is a firm believer in doing charitable work. In October 2019, he donated £109million to charity by transferring 28 per cent of the shares in his investment firm to the Souter Charitable Trust.
He said the shares will be used to support the humanitarian work of the trust, which he set up with his wife Elizabeth in 1992.
It is thought to be the largest donation to good causes by a Scot since the handouts of 19th century industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Sir Brian was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2011 for services to transport and the voluntary sector.
His sister, who is also no stranger to charitable work, was made a dame last year for her services to business and for her philanthropy. The former nurse founded Kenya Children’s Homes in 2002 and is also involved with the charity Mercy Ships.
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