NHS staff from across Wales have come together to sing heartfelt and bilingual 100th birthday video greetings to the remarkable Colonel Tom Moore.
The rousing rendition of Penblwydd Hapus and Happy Birthday is a tribute to the war veteran who was promoted to Colonel after raising more than £29 million for NHS Charities Together after completing 100 laps of the garden at his daughter’s Bedfordshire home.
The money is being shared between 170 NHS charities across the UK, including Wales’s seven boards, Betsi Cadwaladr in North Wales, Powys and Hywel Dda in Mid and West Wales and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Cwm Taf, Aneurin Bevan and Cardiff and Vale across South Wales.
Colonel Tom’s efforts prompted staff to put together the video in Welsh and English for the brave Yorkshireman who has captured the hearts of the nation and who has become the UK’s oldest chart-topper thanks to his You’ll Never Walk Alone duet with Michael Ball.
That’s set to take his charity total well over the £30 million mark with NHS charities due to benefit by more than £80 million from the efforts of the gallant captain and other fund-raisers.
The North Wales NHS charity Awyr Las – Blue Sky – has already received £35,000 with more on the way and already among their purchases has been extra scanner equipment to help pharmacists process prescriptions for a wide area of North Wales.
Anke Hagemi, Senior Pharmacist at Ysbyty Gwynedd and Lead Pharmacist for Renal Medicine in North Wales, said: “We in Wales are so grateful to Colonel Tom. He is absolutely amazing.
“The way he has inspired people right across the UK has been remarkable and we wish him a wonderful birthday.
“What he has done is very important to us. Everyone is under pressure at the moment and we’re having to develop different ways of working because we don’t just serve patients in hospital but also in the wider communities.
“We have some wonderful volunteers who are helping to distribute prescriptions and Awyr Las covers their expenses.
“Without the new equipment funded by Awyr Las and our volunteers, this vital service wouldn’t be running as efficiently as it is.
“This will make a huge difference not just for the pharmacy team, but also for the nursing staff on the wards and of course the patients.”
NHS Charities across Wales have set up their own Covid-19 Appeals to make a real difference for patients and key workers now and in the future and Kirsty Thomson, the deputy chair of NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) and head of fundraising for Awyr Las, said: “This is really a thank you from the whole of the NHS in Wales for Colonel Tom.
“Over £1million has already been allocated by NHSCT for grants for Welsh NHS Charities and thanks to donations from generous supporters of Colonel Tom’s campaign, Premier League footballers and a host of other fundraising initiatives, this national Covid-19 appeal will make an impact locally right now and in the future.
“Our focus in Wales at the moment is on the immediate well-being for patients and NHS staff affected by COVID-19 but longer term we are looking at how patients can be helped after they leave hospital and how we can provide for the mental health of staff and those in our communities in future.
“We want people to know they can support NHS Charities Together, safe in the knowledge that the appeal is national but its effects will be felt locally by patients and staff across Wales.”
Simone Joslyn, Head of Arts and Health Charity at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “We’d like to wish a happy birthday to Colonel Tom. He’s really captured the heart of the nation with his campaign, inspiring people to take on their own challenges to raise money for their local NHS charity.
“The money Colonel Tom has raised will help make a huge difference to our patients and staff throughout Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, allowing us to provide those little extras that are above what the NHS normally provides.”
NHS Charities support additional equipment, new facilities, special projects, and extra education and research that goes over and above what the NHS provides, including extra staff listening services, virtual visiting devices, clinical research, sleeping pods for staff and wellbeing support projects.
The grants from NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 Appeal do not just fund immediate wellbeing for patients and staff affected by COVID-19. It will also help fund strategic partnerships to help people after they leave hospital and long term recovery for staff and our wider community.”