EXCLUSIVE: Tooting hospital’s locals raise tens of thousands for hard-pressed staff

Residents have raised almost £24,000 in just five days for critical staff working in hospitals through the countries worst health crisis in a century.

Thousands of staff at St George’s in Tooting have been working extra shifts to cope with the massive influx of coronavirus cases. Among them was Tooting Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan, who still does occasional shifts in the emergency ward.

And the risks they are taking and their dedication to trying to care for the sick has sparked a massive response from locals.

A donations page created by management consultant Janneke Diemel says: “In an effort to help support the critical care front line staff at St George’s Hospital over the next few weeks and months, and in turn, support our local shops and restaurants in doing so – we have decided to set up this PayPal pool where you can send donations.

“We plan to make regular lunchtime and evening deliveries to St George’s Hospital to feed the critical care nurses and other front line staff. We will also provide support for car parking fees and hotel rooms for those staff who would not otherwise be in a position to work. Thank you for your help!”

Restaurants were already donating meals to medics before they were closed last weekend.

A couple from nearby have offered to shop for hospital staff who cannot get to supermarkets because of their shifts. Peter Smith said: “My Wife and I would like offer our best endeavours to shop for those critical care staff who can not make the supermarket dedicated shopping time slot of 07:30 to 08:00. Let us know and we will try our best to help.

“Our love and grateful thanks to you all for your sacrifice and support to the country in these difficult days.”

A group of caring AFC Wimbledon fans have launched their own battle plan to help local people combat the disease.

They kicked off with an urgent public appeal for food and cleansing products to be dropped off on Saturday, between 8am and 5pm, at two venues: The Alexandra pub in Wimbledon and Old Ruts sports club in Merton Park.

They collected essentials like cereals, soup, pasta and rice, fruit, tinned food, biscuits, tea, coffee and soft drinks, chocolate bars, snacks.

The number of cases in South London has surged in the last week – Southwark which had 32 people infected a week ago, now has 139.

Lambeth, which had 22 last week, now has 127. Westminster has 117 – up from 35 seven days ago, Wandsworth 110, which had 17.

Kensington & Chelsea figures are on 81 , Lewisham and Bromley 67, Greenwich 61, Merton 56, Hammersmith & Fulham 51 and Bexley 39.

Libraries, sports centres and registry offices run by Wandsworth and Richmond councils closed on Friday March 20 – and leisure and sports centres the day before. Some weddings at council registry offices were also cancelled.

Merton council cancelled all meetings until May 20, apart from planning and cabinet meetings. Decisions will instead fall to council officers.

All libraries across Croydon closed on Friday, March 20 – any books due to be returned on or after March 19 have been renewed until April 30.

To donate to St George’s critical care staff, go to https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8nvYv7w5NH

A similar appeal is also in place at King’s College Hospital: https://www.gofundme.com/f/buy-them-a-coffee-kch?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet

Pictured are St George’s staff thanking restaurants for donated food; and, inset, a nurse delivering drinks.

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