Conscious of the long shifts and precious little downtime experienced by all those working as part of the country’s effort to contain Covid-19, the packages combined basic essentials such as hand sanitiser and shower gel with treats such as tins of sweets, fitness resistance bands and Amazon vouchers.
For ESS, a long-standing supporter of the Charity, getting involved with this project was an easy decision. Mark Webster, Managing Director of ESS Defence, Government, Offshore & Remote, said, “It has been totally humbling to have the opportunity to work so closely with the RNRMC and obtain the bespoke contents of these care packages for the well-deserving recipients”.
Each of the 650 boxes included a personal thank you letter from the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Tony Radakin. In his letter, Admiral Radakin told Royal Navy medical specialists:
“I, along with everyone in the Royal Navy – indeed, in the country – am inordinately proud of what you are doing and will continue to do over the next weeks and months alongside your NHS colleagues. It’s an enormous and crucial responsibility that can only be carried out be the best kind of people: those who put the greater good above all else.
Our Charity, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity is sending you this parcel to let you know that they’re thinking about you at this challenging time and to provide you with a little pick-me-up in your precious downtime. The Charity is committed to being by your side, and that of your families, throughout the crisis and beyond and is primed and ready to provide you with whatever additional support you may need.”
The boxes were prepared and packed by volunteers at the Institute of Naval Medicine in Alverstoke, before being distributed to naval medical personnel across the country and overseas, all of whom have been part of the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK Armed Forces. Other Royal Navy personnel have supported the national effort by running mobile virus testing centres, strengthened stretched public services and provided logistical support to deliver medicines and equipment.
“What’s made these last few weeks easier are touches of kindness, a smile in the street as one neighbour makes way for another, the nation clapping for all key workers, and gifts, like the box you sent, as a recognition of the small part we’re playing in the fight.”
Surg Lt Johnnie Norsworthy
“It actually reminded me of a moment from my Admiralty Interview Board when I was asked by the Board President, “Why do you want to join the Navy?”, without much thought I replied ‘the people’.. Moments like this just reaffirmed that answer and I wanted to let you know how much these gifts meant.”
Surg Lt Cdr David McConnell
“These gestures help to highlight that we’re all in this together and really are very kind.”
Surg Lt Cdr Louise McMenemy
“A few days ago I received my ‘comfort box’ from RNRMC - what a fabulously kind and thoughtful idea. Please accept my heartfelt thanks and appreciation and pass them on to everybody involved! It had such a great combination of treats and practical ideas - the hand cream is definitely needed. I was really touched by 1SL’s letter, and it’s lovely to know that the efforts of the RN Medical Service in the NHS is recognised and valued. Being in lead, full face shields, tight fitting masks using hammers under theatre lights for 3 hours is not particularly enjoyable. I definitely need the bottle of shower gel that was in my comfort box at the end of each case!”
Surg Lt Cdr Pippa Bennett