Countess of Wessex visits nurses for International Nurses Day

HER Royal Highness Sophie The Countess of Wessex met with nurses and midwives at St Peter’s Hospital yesterday to mark International Nurses Day.

The Countess met staff at the Chertsey hospital as she spent Tuesday morning volunteering for NHS voluntary group Nourish our Nurses, distributing food and produce bags to healthcare workers.

Countess Sophie with nurses from St Peter’s Hospital

The Countess joined the team to help pack and deliver 200 bags to St Peter’s Hospital. Each week the bags are distributed to different hospital teams. As Tuesday was International Nurses Day – coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale on 12 May 1820 – they were delivered to nurses and midwives on several wards.

Some lucky recipients found more than just food in their bags as The Countess placed golden envelopes with extra treats donated by local businesses. These included a Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Runnymede Hotel, £50 voucher donated by Youngs, Afternoon Tea at Langtons, Audley Village, beauty treatment vouchers from Heaven at Number 7, a Hamper from Windsor Farm Shop and Vouchers from Tesco, Amazon & Costa Coffee.

The Countess helps deliver bags of food and goodies to nursing teams

During her visit The Countess met with Andy Field, chairman and Andrea Lewis, interim chief nurse, at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital, along with nurses and midwives from different wards across the trust including critical care.

“It was an honour to meet The Countess today and we would like to thank her for taking the time to join ‘Nourish our Nurses’ and visit St Peter’s,” said Andy Field.

“It was a real treat for some of our hard-working nurses and midwives to meet The Countess and receive their food bags and golden envelopes. I would also like to thank Nourish our Nurses for their incredible and unwavering support in recent weeks. Their kind donations are making a big difference to our hard-working and dedicated staff.”

Nourish our Nurses was founded by Jo-Ann Airikkala and comprises a small team of sixteen volunteers.

200 bags of food were packed and distributed to nursing teams at St Peter’s Hospital in honour of International Nurses Day

“I was inspired to establish Nourish our Nurses by a childhood friend who is a nurse in Edinburgh,” said Jo-Ann. “Seeing the panic buying and empty supermarket shelves really got me thinking about our frontline NHS heroes. Those working flat out to care for patients deserve to be looked after and provided with the ingredients for a healthy, hearty meal.

“I joined forces with Debi Peppin and other amazing volunteers to begin packing and delivering food bags to hospital, ambulance and community healthcare staff. We buy all the produce fresh from the market twice a week at 4.30am and to date have delivered a total of 2800 bags over the past seven weeks. We also contain a recipe idea in each bag to provide inspiration which one nurse described as a ‘genius idea’.”

Andrea Lewis, interim chief nurse at St Peter’s, said: “The last few weeks have been really challenging and we know that is likely to continue for some time, but the support we’ve received from the local community and groups such as Nourish our Nurses has been amazing. I would really like to thank Jo-Ann, Debi and all the volunteers who are working so hard to help us – we have been blown away by their kindness and commitment.”

The Nourish our Nurses fundraising link can be found at GoFundMe – https://uk.gofundme.com/f/Nourish-Our-Nurses—NHS-Ashford-St-Peters-Hosp

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