Today marks the 72nd birthday of the National Health Service, when people up and down the country will be paying tribute to the care and support provided by the organisation, not just during the recent months of the Covid-19 pandemic but throughout its extensive history.
That is no different at Wolves, where the coronavirus outbreak has brought into sharp focus the fantastic work carried out by the selfless and courageous staff of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
Wolves and the Wolves Foundation have formed a positive working relationship with the local NHS Trust over many years, including annual Christmas visits to different wards at New Cross Hospital, and linking up together on different health-based projects.
And over the last few months, since Covid-19 arrived, the club and charity have worked closely with the Trust to provide various help and support during such a challenging and difficult time.
- Wolves’ first team squad and staff made a six-figure donation to the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
- The players also made a donation to the Premier League’s ‘Players Together’ initiative to support the NHS and frontline services
- Former Wolves captain Karl Henry, a Wolves Foundation ambassador, spearheaded a fundraising drive, helped by former team-mates Matt Murray and Danny Batth, which raised £50,000 to help New Cross Hospital increase their capacity.
- From an initial first donation made in March, Wolves have distributed a variety of PPE equipment to the NHS as a result of an initiative from Fosun and the Fosun Foundation
- Wolves Women player Shannie Jennings was already working for the NHS, but has been fully focused on working on various aspects of the response to Covid-19.
Wolves captain Conor Coady said at the time of the players’ donation that it was important that the squad did what they could to help the NHS.
“All of us in the squad, the boss and the staff wanted to do something significant to help Wolverhampton and the people of this city at what is a really difficult and challenging time for all of us,” he explained.
"We receive so much support from the people of Wolverhampton week-in-week-out at Molineux, at grounds up and down the country and even when we meet people out and about, and for us this the least we could do to repay that support.
“We know the club has been doing a lot of fantastic work to support the city since the outbreak, and we felt we wanted to add to that as a team and show how grateful we are to the NHS for everything they do locally and nationally."
Henry, one of Coady’s predecessors as Wolves skipper, was also keen to help and support the hospital where he was both born and treated for asthma in his formative years.
He said: “Each and every person who supported our appeal should feel very proud that we reached our target, and, most importantly, that money has gone directly to help the NHS staff at New Cross – the real heroes - who are doing such an incredible job in looking after us and going above and beyond during this crisis.
“The support from the Foundation and the club as a whole was fantastic and backed up what the owners and first team had already contributed to New Cross, as were the incredible amount of prizes that were donated – there are just too many people to thank but it was all massively appreciated.”
Head of Wolves Foundation Will Clowes has highlighted the impressive all-round team effort involving both Wolves and the club’s official charity.
“Right from the start everyone showed a real willingness and desire to support the NHS, from owners Fosun and Wolves’ Chairman Jeff Shi, to the staff and players, everyone connected with the Foundation and former players and fans,” he said.
“It has been a true team effort involving the donation of both vital equipment and funds as a sign of how grateful we all are for the work the NHS staff have been carrying out on the frontline during such an unprecedented and difficult time.
“For anyone who wasn’t already aware of the incredible work of the NHS, I think the last few months will certainly have showed the fantastic job that they do, and the birthday which took place over the weekend was another opportunity to show our appreciation.”
The chairman of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is Professor Steve Field, who believes the relationship between the local NHS and Wolves has been strengthened in recent months.
“We have been truly humbled by the efforts of the Wolves Foundation and Fosun and for their continued support during these last few months,” says Professor Field.
“Their generous donations of PPE have been crucial to equipping our frontline staff and keeping them safe in the fight against COVID-19.
“Through speaking to people such as Karl Henry from the Foundation and many staff here at the Trust, I know how strong the bond is between the football club and the Trust and the response to COVID-19 has only strengthened those ties.
“It has taken a united effort by the people of Wolverhampton to keep the pandemic at bay, and we cannot thank the community enough for all their support.”
Happy birthday to the NHS from everyone connected with Wolves and the Foundation – and many thanks for everything that you do.