Stoke City defender Tom Edwards has bought and delivered hundreds of items to help nurses and doctors get through an unprecedented time at the Staffordshire Children’s Hospital.
The 21-year-old has been inspired by donations from teammates including Danny Batth and James McClean at their under-pressure local hospitals and had an idea to try to raise spirits with a drop off of hundreds of Easter eggs at Royal Stoke.
But after getting in touch with the hospital, the shopping list became a lot longer.
Staff have personal protective equipment but the exhausting shifts they are working on the front line have left faces and hands battered, bruised and sore.
So he borrowed a big vehicle from Whiston Executive Travel and filled it with 54 vaseline and lip balms, 30 packs of hand cream, 68 face masks and moisture masks, 69 protein and energy bars and 36 isotonic energy gel packs – as well as those 375 Easter eggs.
“We are an incredibly fortunate situation as footballers, especially playing for owners like we have at Stoke, and we know we are very privileged,” he said.
“Danny has supported his local hospital with food for staff and I thought it would be right if I did the same with mine. I was just thinking of Easter eggs but when you see the work that the NHS staff are putting in you want to try to help as much as possible.
“The pictures showing faces after a shift wearing the PPE shows the kind of hours they are working on the front line too. They are incredible people doing an incredible job.”
The delivery was unpacked this morning onto trolleys outside the hospital so social distancing rules could be followed. Whiston Executive Travel provided an executive Mercedes to fit as much in as possible and covered the insurance.
It comes a day after the Denise Coates Foundation donated £10m to the University Hospitals of North Midlands to help the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Coates family, who own Stoke City and bet365, have committed to paying employees over the next five turbulent months.
Edwards, who is training in isolation by following a club fitness programme, said: “In the last couple of weeks we’ve just seen again how good the family is for our city. They are brilliant gestures.”