Portsmouth churches receive 'overwhelming' gratitude for donations to NHS on National Day of Reflection

PRIESTS have been hand delivering chocolates across the city to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the NHS staff, teachers, and other key workers who have helped us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 6:17 pm
Fiona Darroch with some of her colleagues at Lake Road Health Centre. Picture: Sarah Standing (230321-5371)

Vicars and priests from around 20 churches have delivered 58 boxes of chocolates to hard working key workers comes as part of the National Day of Reflection.

The day has provided an opportunity not just to reflect on those lost to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to acknowledge the efforts of those who have supported the community, according to Canon Bob White, vicar of St Mary’s Church in Fratton.

Speaking after donating a box of chocolates to staff at Lake Road Practice in Nutfield Place, Fr White said: ‘As a patch we are doing 15 deliveries.

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Lake Road Health Centre staff from left John Brazier, Sarah Olford, Lee Norval, Sarah Saunders, Carole McGovern, Tracey Bertram, Fiona Darroch and Dr James Riches with Father Bob White. Picture: Sarah Standing (230321-5364)

‘It is all about acknowledging the people who have carried us through the year.

'We're constantly hearing of support people have had from the HIVE, from GP surgeries, from schools, everyone has been talking about how much they have been looked after and cared for.'

'People have been genuinely overwhelmed and touched by the fact that someone has remembered them.

'There’s a real sense of a community coming together for the benefit of all.’

From left, Lee Norval, Fiona Darroch, Father Bob White, Sarah Olford, Carole McGovern and Tracey Bertram. Picture: Sarah Standing (230321-5379)

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Carole McGovern, reception team leader at the surgery, said ‘even a little recognition’ goes a long way.

She said: 'We have also had chocolates and cakes and cards.

‘And every day patients show how grateful they are – we have had people booking their Covid-19 vaccine and they have burst into tears.

‘A lot of older people over winter have said it's the best Christmas present they could ask for.

'Patients understand that we may seem really quiet but so much is going on behind the scenes.’

The surgery has turned to phone and online consultations where possible, leading some surgery visitors to mistakenly think the practice is enjoying a lull, according to staff member Kelly Milton.

She said: ‘It’s good to know that you’re appreciated and recognised.

‘I’m sure there are some people who think we’re sat here doing nothing – but we’ve been busier than ever.’

Kelly is sure the donation will be thoroughly enjoyed: ‘Any chocolate is my favourite chocolate.’

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