Copnor nurse inspires £1 million campaign to support NHS staff and key workers by Kurt Geiger

WHEN nurse Kerry Morrison spoke to family members about her experiences of working during the first lockdown, she was not expecting to inspire a £1m charitable campaign.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 6:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 6:32 pm

Anticoagulant nurse specialist Kerry’s dedication and passion has sparked huge donations both to Queen Alexandra Hospital and to NHS facilities across the country.

Copnor resident Kerry was chatting about her experiences in a family WhatsApp group last year, and her uncle Neil Clifford decided he wanted to help the NHS through the pandemic.

Neil, chief executive of luxury footwear and accessories brand Kurt Geiger, met Kerry today to present a cheque for £103,871 for NHS Charities Together, following a huge drive by the company to support healthcare workers.

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Neil Clifford, chief executive of Kurt Geiger, presented a cheque for £103,871 to his niece Kerry Morrison, an anticoagulant nurse specialist at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, after she inspired the brand's charity campaign. Picture: Sarah Standing (300321-2974)

Neil, who grew up in Copnor, said: ‘I was fortunate enough to see very early on and first-hand the amazing work that the NHS were doing during Covid through my niece.

‘She inspired me to ensure that we as a business and all our staff did as much as possible to support the NHS and frontline workers like her.’

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He added: ‘We were pretty helpless, we were closing shops. I was feeling pretty miserable so I wanted to know what we could do to help.

Neil Clifford and Kerry Morrison Picture: Sarah Standing (300321-2980)

‘It kept the family WhatsApp quite busy! It joined the family together because every day we were chatting. It was magic, it kept us all busy.’

After Kerry joked during the first lockdown that free shoes would come in handy for the hospital staff, Neil turned up at Queen Alexandra Hospital with 50 gift cards worth £100 each to be distributed to staff.

The gift card donation was the first of many kind acts from businesses and individuals in the city to give a boost to Kerry and her colleagues throughout the lockdown.

Kerry has spent 21 years working at the Cosham hospital, starting as a healthcare assistant before qualifying as a nurse 15 years ago.

She said: ‘It’s the love of your patients, that is the best thing you could ever want.

‘We haven’t got a magic wand, we can’t get rid of all their illnesses but if you have given them that time and been patient with them and they have walked out smiling, that’s my job done.’

Kurt Geiger, which has a store in Gunwharf Quays, also launched the WE ARE ONE product range using the company’s famous rainbow designs.

From sales of masks and bags, 100 per cent of the proceeds went towards the £100,000 cheque for NHS Charities Together, which Portsmouth Hospitals Charity is part of.

Portsmouth Hospitals Charity has been using funds throughout the pandemic to improve staff wellbeing, including providing a new outdoor seating area for staff and providing treats such as ice lollies to boost morale.

The campaign by Kurt Geiger also offered a 50 per cent discount on all its products to key workers, which has totalled more than £500,000 worth of discounts, and more than £400,000 worth of gift cards were given to hospitals across the country.

Neil’s family all live around the Portsmouth area, and the ex-Mayfield pupil has donated funds to his old school in the past, with plans to give a talk to pupils this year.

Neil said: ‘I think if you’re from Pompey, you always feel very connected to Portsmouth. It’s a special place.’

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