Portsmouth NHS workers to be official starters of the Great South Run 2021
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A pair of nurses, a physiotherapist and a bereavement counsellor have been named as the official starters of this year’s 10-mile race around the city on Sunday, October 17.
Emergency Department matrons Bethan Hutton and Emma Tomkinson, bereavement services manager Karen Roberts, and physiotherapist Lewis Hope, who work at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, will represent the heroic efforts of all health and care staff in the NHS’s fight against Covid-19 during the pandemic.
The group are part of the Great South Thank You campaign, which will pay tribute to 10 inspirational individuals through a large-scale visual installation at the event.
The chairman of the Great Run Company, Sir Brendan Foster, said: ‘This year we’ll be welcoming runners back to the start-line after one of the most challenging experiences in living memory.
‘I think I speak for the whole country when I say the heroic efforts of the National Health Service are something we should all pay tribute to.
‘Historically, our starters have been public figures who have achieved great things in their chosen fields, but this year, there is no-one who deserves that honour more than the staff of the NHS, who worked so hard to care for our communities under such difficult circumstances.’
More than 800 healthcare and social workers have died due to Covid-19 since March 2020, according to Office of National Statistics figures.
Matron Bethan said: ‘Our emergency department cares for a large number of patients every day and due to the pandemic, we have had to find new ways of working with each other and providing care in challenging circumstances including wearing PPE.
‘The safety of our patients and staff was paramount and while no day was ever the same, it’s amazing what we have been able to achieve as a team.’
The Great South Run’s 5k race and popular junior and mini events for kids will take place ahead of the main event on Saturday.