GENEROUS News & Mail readers have donated more than £500 to the Angels Hampers initiative in which goodies are given to local people who are helping others during the coronavirus pandemic.

Claire Leigh, who runs the Two Ducks gift shop in St John’s, is looking for more nominations of people who should receive a hamper.

“We have had one or two people come forward recently with nominations, but I would like to have some more as we now have the funds,” Claire said.

She said that nominees could be anyone helping others, including people such as postmen and binmen, as well as health workers and anyone who has set up a project to help to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve just given our first hamper to a supermarket worker and another one went to someone who has got together a group to make scrubs.”

Two other recent recipients have been Carrie Ann Cope and Matthew Jones.

Carrie Ann is a care worker for the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices. She risks her own health by continuing to visit patients in their homes who would normally be in the hospice.

Her husband is also a key worker who works long hours as a manager for Aldi and the pair are home schooling their 12-year-old daughter and entertaining their 18-year-old son.

Matthew is a manager at Carers_UK and has been working 11-hour days on the phones offering support and information to unpaid carers worried about the coronavirus.

When Claire started Angels Hampers, after giving one to a friend and customer who is a sister at St Peter’s Hospital and has been treating COVID-19 patients, she received lots of nominations.

“Lists of names just poured in and so I made up some more boxes. I chatted with the people nominated to find out a bit more about them and so I was able to pick gifts most suitable for them.”

The hampers include items such as candles, bath products and cards with special messages.

“We’ve set up a JustGiving page where customers can donate as much as they can afford. A hamper costs £20.”

Claire is planning to reopen her shop, which sells gifts, homeware and fashion, on Wednesday 17 June.

“We will have only four people in the shop at one time and there will be one changing room open. Any clothes that are tried on will be steam-cleaned before they are put back on display.”

Claire said she hoped to be able to bring back a member of staff who has been furloughed.

Since it opened about six years ago, Two Ducks has won the Best Gift Shop and Best Women's Clothing Store in Surrey categories in the Muddy Stiletto awards and was a finalist in the UK Retailer of the Year awards run by the British Independent Retailers Association and the best Enterprising Business in the SME Surrey Awards.

“It would be great if people continued with donations, but I would also like to have some more nominations,” Claire said.