A SHAFTESBURY man is on a mission to create hampers, cards and more to be delivered to hospitals in the county.

Despite not being a site admitting Covid-19 patients, Deane Gardiner believes that Westminster Memorial Hospital has been just as much at the forefront of the pandemic as other hospitals in the area, assisting patients with other pressing conditions and injury.

As a result he is appealing to the public to help him raise £1,000, so he can create hampers filled with treats to be delivered to NHS staff.

Previously a teacher at Shaftesbury School, Deane has been personally touched by the efforts of local hospitals, including Westminster supporting his friend with cancer and Dorset County Hospital supporting his wife’s recent cancer diagnosis.

He said: “Hospitals have received criticism and complaints but this is not my experience, I decided instead of trying to counteract I could share my positive experiences and do something to help.”

So far Deane’s Go Fund Me page has raised more than £500, which he said was “great news”.

Inspired by similar projects and fundraisers launched for Salisbury District Hospital, he added: “It has been amazing because it’s not just people I know - it is people who I don’t know that are taking part.

“It shows that everyone understands the situation better, when you even get people you don’t know involved. Not only that but these people have given large donations and so I thank them for that. It shows we all feel the same.”

As part of the scheme Deane is also encouraging residents to add a ‘Thank you’ note to their donations, so NHS staff can also receive written acknowledgement with their hampers.

He said it would be even better if children could get involved by creating and writing letters.

He added: “This isn’t just about a hamper, it is showing a real understanding that we are thinking about them.”

Talking about the fundraiser he added: “I was quite nervous to start up, and it has been such a difficult year for me and my wife, but I am so glad the page is getting such a great response.”

Deane and Bernice wed last April under Covid-19 regulations, and were able to have a second ceremony in the summer.

During the pandemic Deane had to have an operation on his ankle, again highlighting the work of hospitals away from the current crisis.

For more information and to donate visit Deane's Go Fund Me Page.

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