The good news review of 2020: Volunteers, vaccines and a whole load of kindness.
For most of us 2020 will be a year to forget, but in our final blog of the year, we wanted to remember the good news and the heart-warming stories that have filled us with joy and prompted many of us to support the NHS in ways never seen before.
Here are our top picks, reasons to be grateful and heart-warming stories showing how we all came together when it really mattered.
An army of volunteers
People all over the country put their hands up to help the NHS in the volunteer responder programme helping to collect prescriptions, food parcels and transport patients to and from hospital. They were hoping for 250,000 volunteers; within four days three quarters of a million people had signed up.
The Red Cross also experienced a phenomenal response with 10,000 extra volunteers signing up to provide doorstep support delivering food parcels and supplies across the country.
Captain Tom, the “one man fundraising machine”
From an army of volunteers to Captain Tom. What more can we say - what an impact he had on all of us, all across the world. Raising £33m in 6 weeks, it is most definitely a high point and shows the strength of feeling to help the NHS in their greatest hour of need.
The money has created therapeutic facilities for healthcare staff to decompress after their shifts, trained nurses, provided wellbeing packages for essential workers, and funded tablets to allow hospital patients in isolation to keep in contact with loved ones. Thanks indeed Captain Sir Tom.
There were many more who followed in Captain Tom’s footsteps, like 9-year-old Tobias Weller who, despite having cerebral palsy, walked 2 marathons raising over £100k. Then there was Tony Hudgell, a 6-year-old double amputee, who walked 10k, raising £1m for the NHS. Simply amazing.
Clapping on our doorsteps
For nine weeks, neighbours came together on their doorsteps every Thursday to say thanks to the NHS and frontline workers by clapping, banging pans together and anything that made a loud noise. We met neighbours for the first time, waved at friends and joined in impromptu singing in the street. Everything at a distance, but bringing small communities together.
Most of us have been forced to stay at home for weeks on end over the course of the year. We worked from home and home-schooled the children and we have spent more time than ever with our families. Hopefully for most, that has been precious time enjoyed and has been a time to reflect on what matters most in life.
Then came the vaccine
It is incredible to believe that, in the space of 9 months we can celebrate the roll-out of a vaccine, when they usually take 10 years. The NHS is now undertaking the largest vaccination programme ever in the UK and a nation’s hopes rest on it.
The boss of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, paid tribute to the trial participants, saying: “The fact that so many volunteers raised their hands is amazing. This demonstrates that sometimes a crisis brings the best out of people.”
Indeed that is true. And despite the recent news of the new strain of Covid-19 spreading, we are hopeful for 2021. We must continue to support the NHS workers, who are once again facing huge challenges this Christmas time. We couldn’t put it any better than Captain Sir Tom when he said, “I’ve always believed things will get better. The sun will shine again”.
Merry Christmas to all our customers and supporters and here’s to an optimistic outlook for the new year.