Southern Co-op raises cash to thank medics who saved a colleague

The co-op raised money for the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust who saved the life of one of its colleagues

The Southern Co-op is helping to make improvements to a local hospital ward as a thank you for saving the life of one of its colleagues.

The co-op raised a total of £5,629 for the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH), and donated an additional £2,500 from its wider community fund, Love Your Neighbourhood.

The hospital will use the money to buy six tablets for patients who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 to enable them to stay in touch with their friends and family, since no visits are currently allowed.

Clare Hill, a customer service assistant at Southern’s store in Keynsham, was admitted to hospital in April and is currently recovering at home, after having spent time in the ICU.

Jess Hockridge, store manager at Southern’s Queens Road store, said: “We can’t thank the healthcare professionals at RUH enough for taking care of Clare and getting her back home safely.

“But we also want to say a massive thanks to all of our customers and Clare’s husband who helped raise this amazing amount of money.

“Having spent time on the hospital’s ward, she was able to speak to the matron and find out exactly what they need. All of the 100 ward colleagues have to wash before and after each shift so the toiletries will come in handy for this.”

The funding raised will also be used to buy a kettle, toaster, microwave, sandwich maker, coffee machine and other essentials to improve the break out area of the ward, which is based in a previously unused building.

The funding was raised co-operatively by Southern Co-op staff, who raised awareness in stores and on social media. One duty manager also held a live auction of all of her beauty products on social media. Ms Hill’s partner Steve also contributed £600 from his own fundraising campaign.

Hockridge added: “All of the support has been so amazing. We’d hoped each of our stores could raise £100 so to get to nearly £6,000 in total is unbelievable.”

Ms Hill, who has been making pamper bags with her mother for colleagues on the ward to carry their toiletries said: “I want to thank everyone who’s donated to the fund, all of our wonderful customers, all of the beautiful and brave people who helped me in ICU and on the Charlotte Ward afterwards. Without their dedication, love and care, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Margi Jenkins, RUH Critical Care Matron, said: “It’s a huge moment for all our staff every time one of our COVID-19 patients gets better and is able to leave intensive care. We’re so glad that Clare is recovering well and we’re incredibly grateful to Southern Co-op and their customers for this really generous donation.”

Owned by 140,000 members, the Southern Co-op runs over 250 food and funeral branches across the south of England.