Families, businesses and villagers give their support during lockdown

A man who almost died in an accident several years ago has repaid his thanks to NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Retired NHS workers, ex-patients and fundraisers across Dartford and Gravesend are just some of the individuals supporting key workers at Darent Valley Hospital.

NHS staff at Darent Valley Hospital treating Covid-19 positive patients in PPE that was kindly donated by Graham Martin, from Meopham

Graham Martin, a worker in the fuel and oil industry, from Harvel village in Meopham, collected and delivered 450 personal protective equipment (PPE) suits to Dartford NHS staff. In October 2008, the 54-year-old had a life-threatening accident which resulted in him being admitted to the intensive care unit at Darent Valley Hospital.

Graham had been on his driveway when a faulty vehicle handbrake led to him being crushed between a Toyota flat bed truck and a garage wall.

His daughter, 20-year-old Alice, said: “He had bitten of his tongue, had a fractured pelvis, multiple broken ribs and punctured a lung. “The staff at Darent Valley Hospital were so good to him. He always says that if it wasn’t for them he would’ve passed away.”

With NHS staff stretched, Graham felt now was a good opportunity to give something back as a small thank you for all their support.

NHS staff at Darent Valley Hospital treating Covid-19 positive patients in PPE

Car-mad Graham called friends, family, farmers, mechanics and anyone else who may have PPE to rally together in a fight to find as many suits as possible and in little over a week collected 450. On Facebook, Darent Valley Hospital said: “Thank you to Graham Martin, Martin Nuttall, Nick Young, James Carter and GW Pharmaceuticals for the incredible donation of hundreds of suits for our staff on the Covid-19 frontline.

“The kind-heartedness that has been given by you all has gone a long way and is appreciated greatly.” Other families have also been showing their appreciation to the NHS with colourful artwork on their driveways.

In Whitehill Road, Gravesend, David and Hannah Martin, and their two children, Imogen, nine, and seven-month-old Beau created a chalked, rainbow-inspired, geometric masterpiece outside their home to pay their tribute to the NHS and their amazing work. Meanwhile, Anya Dixon, an 11-year-old from Joydens Wood, near Dartford, collected more than 150 bottles of hand and face cream to donate to those working on the frontline and suffering from dry skin, caused by PPE equipment and additional hand washing. The Hextable Primary school pupil saw a post her mum was reading on Facebook showing a nurse with a sore face from wearing a face mask and decided she wanted to do something to help.

Anya’s mum, Nicola, said: “I am so proud of my daughter. Other than asking me to put it on our local community Facebook page she has organised everything else herself. “She put a table outside our house to collect any unwanted face cream and hand cream to donate to Darent Valley Hospital.”

Anya Dixon, outside her house in Joydens Wood, collecting hand and face cream for NHS staff at Darent Valley Hospital

A retired Darent Valley Hospital employee has shown her support with a colourful wooden plaque.

Donna Kerin, a 40-year-old who lives near Gravesend town centre, donated a hand-crafted scroll saw plaque to Darent Valley Hospital. Donna wanted to do her bit to let her old colleagues know she was thinking of them. Donna said: “I’ve worked at Darent Valley Hospital for 15 years, first as a gardener then on the switchboard.

“I left in January 2019 due to ill health, and since then have taken up the hobby of woodwork. “The plaque has three or four crafts put into it. I used the rainbow colours to symbolise the NHS and all the hard work they are doing.”

Donna Kerin giving her hand crafted NHS plaque to the staff at Darent Valley Hospital, in support of those working during the coronavirus pandemic

It took Donna a week to make the plaque and it now stands proudly in the hospital reception.

A Sikh barrister is also looking to give something back to his community by offering free legal advice to the people of Gravesham and Medway. Mukhtiar Singh is extending his offer to key workers and all employers and service providers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The barrister is a member of the Sikh Education Council and has carried out free legal work in Sikh religious rights and has been working to support whistleblowers during this time.

For interviews, you can contact him directly on msingh@gclaw.co.uk or for more information click here. A care home in Northfleet also benefited from the kindness of its local community.

General manager of Dene Holm care home, Christine Hutchinson and carer, Nicola Williams with their pizza, kindly donated by the mysterious Tara

In the past few weeks of uncertainty, the people of Gravesend have brought kindness and generosity to Dene Holm residents and staff, in the form of letters, drawings and gifts, proving compassion really does thrive during unprecedented times. One lady thought outside of the box and sent pizza to the care home staff.

Staff at the residential care home in Northfleet were surprised with a batch of pizzas and sides from Domino’s Pizza, courtesy of a grateful mystery donor, known only as Tara. General manager Christine Hutchinson said: “We were really surprised when the pizzas turned up on the doorstep, it was a lovely treat and really lifted everyone’s spirits. “The team are working so hard to keep normality in what is such a difficult time for everyone, so it’s really nice for their hard work to be appreciated.”

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here. For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here. Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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