In April 2020, amid the first peak of COVID-19, Captain Sir Tom Moore set out to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. 100 laps later, he'd captured the heart of the nation and raised an incredible £38.9 million to support NHS charities all over the UK, including King's College Hospital Charity.
Using the funds raised by Captain Sir Tom and granted to us by NHS Charities Together, we were able to create a safety net of essential support and wellbeing services for the frontline staff and vulnerable patients at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, at a time when they needed it the most.
In addition to offering immediate practical help, like distributing food, toiletries, and clothing, we were able to set up wellbeing hubs offering a warm and welcoming space for exhausted staff to rest and recuperate, and provide emotional and mental health support services for those coping with the trauma of their experience.
In partnership with St Christopher's Hospice, we were also able to launch the King's College Hospital Charity Bereavement Service, to provide additional support to the friends, partners and relatives of any patient who died in our hospitals during the pandemic. The service has since been extended to members of staff grieving the death of a loved one.
Since September 2020, qualified bereavement counsellors have been able to provide much-needed therapeutic information, advice and support for those affected by grief amid the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19.
"I was so grateful for the support I received after my Papa’s sudden death. A social worker helped me find the closure and support I needed, and I am now receiving bereavement counselling. I feel heard and understood, and most importantly I have finally found a conduit to express my grief and manage the trauma associated with my Papa’s death. I hope this service continues for others – you’ve made me and my family feel important and part of a caring society.”
We were deeply saddened to learn that Captain Sir Tom Moore had died with coronavirus on 2 February 2021, and our condolences are with his family and loved ones. A symbol of resilience that rallied the community together during the pandemic, his legacy will live on through the hospitals he has helped and the lives he has changed.
From all of us at King's College Hospital Charity, we thank Captain Sir Tom Moore for shining a light on our NHS in the darkest of times. He is a true hero and inspiration to us all.