A grateful family has donated iPads to help relatives stay in touch with loved ones in hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic
When Steve Lawrence’s father Pete, 76, was admitted to King George Hospital battling Covid-19 and pneumonia, the whole family, including Pete’s wife of over 50 years, Carol, struggled most with not being able to visit him.
That’s why when the grandfather-of-five was discharged two-weeks ago, they were keen to do something to ensure other families could keep in touch with their loves ones – donating four iPads, as well as 400 Easter eggs and chocolates for staff at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Steve, of Melstock Avenue, Upminster, said: “He was one of the lucky ones to come home, however, the thought of not being able to say goodbye to a loved one was really hard. It was more difficult for my mum too as they’ve never been apart in over 50 years.
“Donating the iPads was something we could do to pay back the staff. We would phone the ward every night and the staff were an absolute lifeline in letting us know how he was doing.”
The four iPads were donated by Steve and wife June, as well as close friends Simon Miller, Gary O’Neill and Eugenio Caruso. Following that, their wives started an ongoing appeal for soft drinks, biscuits and snack to be delivered to the Trust for the staff wellbeing rooms in Queen’s and King George Hospitals.
Loraine O’Neill, Gary’s wife, also joined a Facebook fundraising page, Supporting Queen’s and King George hospitals – Covid-19, with members of Pippa’s Army, a local animal search and rescue group; Linzi Fallows, Michelle McQueen, Melissa Firrell, Sue Gerrad and Helen Smith; which raised over £5,000 in three days and has already seen a further 15 iPads donated to the Trust.
The fundraisers were inspired by a similar appeal to buy iPads for hospitals in Basildon and Southend.
On his dad’s recovery after two weeks in hospital, Steve added: “He’s doing really well at home. It’s a nasty virus though and it really took it out of him.
“Mum’s really pleased to have him home – it was very emotional when they were reunited.”