A North Yorkshire pub that has delivered hot, nutritious meals to help sustain NHS staff throughout lockdown has launched a campaign to provide ‘Holidays for Heroes’.
Owners of the White Swan in Pickering felt compelled to help during lockdown after the much-loved local was closed on 20 March. They have delivered 100 gastro-pub meals per week over the last 100 days to NHS staff at York and Scarborough Hospitals.
Victor Buchanan and his wife Marion, owners of The White Swan, said the free meals initiative had a tremendous reception from the NHS and local community, with volunteers helping to deliver to hospital staff. The meals are funded by net profit generated from the pub’s Sunday Lunch and Fish and Chip Friday delivery services, which have proved incredibly popular to loyal customers in the local community.
Victor Buchanan said: “The ‘Holidays for Heroes’ was the next natural progression. After seeing how hard hospital staff have worked, they are so deserving of a break. We wanted to continue to capitalise on being the heart of our community and the support galvanised to date for the NHS. It has bought purpose whilst our building has remained shut. It has been and is tough for the pub industry and our sector, but we were determined not to be defeated by Covid-19.”
In readiness for re-opening on 30 July, the team at The White Swan are now raising £6,000, as part of their ‘Holiday for Heroes’ campaign to host 200 NHS workers, who have been nominated via their website, for an overnight stay.
Marion said: “We have also delivered Afternoon Tea to the staff at Whitby Road, our local care home for the elderly, cake and treats to Malton Hospital to celebrate Captain Tom’s 100th Birthday, and we have been offering rooms completely free of charge throughout lockdown to independent NHS workers. Now we’re set to re-open we just wanted to continue this wonderful legacy.”
Dozens of NHS Heroes have already been nominated, mostly by family members, often with strong memories of the White Swan Inn as a place of family celebrations, birthday meals and night’s out.
Stories include a nurse who retired in March after a 40-year career but returned to work 24 hours after to help in the Covid-19 crisis. An NHS doctor in A&E was put forward for his selfless nature, working extra shifts, living away from his friends and loved ones. He was praised as: “A true NHS hero and hands down will always be my hero!!”
A young trainee surgeon who was set to sit exams was moved to care for patients on a Covid-19 ward, and had to isolate himself from his girlfriend, family and friends for months. His parents praised his compassionate nature at such a young age, and hoped the White Swan Inn could offer a deserved reunion break for him and his girlfriend.
Marion said: “We’ve received nominations that really leave you in tears. Family members are rightly proud of their relatives working on the frontline. We’ve had many dedicated nurses put forward who have worked tirelessly. Many have been isolated from their own families to protect them from Covid-19. We’ve heard how some work gruelling 12-hour shifts in busy A&E departments, cancelling annual leave, not seeing their partners or loved ones. It’s clear to all of us how truly inspiring these healthcare workers are, and how deserving they are of a holiday.”
People can donate to the ‘Holidays for Heroes’ fund to offer a short break for any NHS worker that has been nominated to The White Swan Inn. As well as asking for donations, anyone interested can sponsor a meal for an individual to enjoy while they are staying at the inn.
Marion added: “This is our way of saying thank you to our front- line NHS and emergency service workers. It is a much-deserved chance for them to put their feet up, be cared for by our team, and have a well-earned rest.”
To donate go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/YO18-holidays-for-heroes
Photographs available for press use: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/c7tx0clkpfks2yk/AADIsic9DgJJQRNE_WBfLJY3a?dl=0
should be credited to Rory Lindsay, Photographer.
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