PATIENTS in Cumbria have benefitted from Captain Tom Moore's heroic fundraising efforts.

Thanks to the money the 100-year-old former British Army officer raised - as well as generous donation from local businesses and The SHINE Fund run by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) - thousands of items have been sent out in wellbeing packages to lift spirits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Six members of staff, three peer supporters and two volunteers from CNTW packed a staggering 19,000 items into more than 1,000 packages for hospital patients and patients in the community across Cumbria and the North East.

The wellbeing packs include puzzles, toiletries, and chocolate as well as a message from the trust's chief executive John Lawlor who said in these challenging times "kindness has prevailed all over the world."

His message read: “We have learnt that while there is a lot of fear and uncertainty, there is also, kindness, spirit and hope.

“Due to measures put in place because of COVID-19, the wards have not been able to have any visitors which can be hard on patients who miss their families. The wellbeing packages will hopefully serve as a pick-me-up and bring some comfort in these testing times.”

Karen O’Rourke, Patient Information Centre Manager at CNTW, was involved in packing the items. She added: “This has been a really heart-warming project to have been involved in. Something as simple as sending some chocolates and toiletries and letting patients knowing someone is thinking of them can make a world of difference and I really hope the packages make someone’s day.

“I would like to thank the staff and volunteers who have worked really hard to get the parcels sent out, it’s been a real team effort.”

CNTW is a provider of mental health and disability services. The SHINE Fund helps support people who use its services by providing little extras that can make a big difference such as Christmas decorations for wards or gardening tools for those in the community.

During the current pandemic, the fund is focussing on providing people under the trust’s care with things they can enjoy while self-isolating or staying indoors.