A mum and daughter have sent hundreds of chocolate bars with personalised letters to NHS hospital staff in a bid to lift their spirits.
Mum of three Jessica Edwards, 31, and daughter Tamiyah Barbour, nine, decided to launch their chocolate bar campaign after seeing how exhausted health workers looked on the news.
After watching the BBC programme, Tamiyah asked her mother if she could send chocolate to staff at St George’s Hospital in South London.
Ms Edwards, who was planning on spending £50 of her own money, posted about their plan on her social media.
Now people from all over the country, including Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds have donated to the chocolate campaign.
A £2.50 donation covers the cost of the chocolate bar and a personalised message which comes with it.
One of the messages from Kim, Lee and Jasmine reads: “We would be a very broken family if it wasn’t for your amazing dedication and hard work”.
So far the duo have distributed over 300 bars and counting.
Ms Edwards, who runs a personalised sweets and chocolates company, said: “We saw the BBC news special behind the scenes at the Covid ward and it was such a sad and emotional thing to see.
“They are ordinary people like us but facing so much trauma on a daily basis – we just wanted to hug them.
“When my daughter gave me the idea, I thought I’m going to take 50 quid of my own money and buy 50 chocolate bars.
“Then I realised I’m not the only person who wants to do something, so I decided to put it on my Facebook and my business page.
“The chocolate idea was to give a gift of energy in such an exhausting time but also to remind them that the community is behind them and how thankful we are.”
The pair hoped to raise enough money for 100 chocolate bars, but smashed their target in just four days.
Local shops and supermarkets, including Londis and Asda, have donated chocolate bars to support their campaign.
In light of their success, the duo have expanded their operation to St Helier Hospital and Croydon University Hospital.
Ms Edwards, who also has a six-year-old son and one-year-old daughter, said: “The campaign was supposed to be just a small donation to my local hospital and ended up growing beyond that.
“Involving the community enabled us to make this bigger and thank so much more of the amazing staff.
“We honestly cannot thank the community enough.”
Ms Edwards discovered she suffers from a hereditary heart disease two years ago, which killed her father and nearly killed her brother.
Ms Edwards said: “In December 2019, I was rushed into hospital heavily pregnant where we discovered I had a hereditary heart condition which killed my dad and almost killed my brother.
“The NHS were a big part of supporting me through this and still are.”
The campaign has also helped their mental health by keeping them “busy and distracted” during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ms Edwards said: “This campaign has also helped our mental health a lot.
“My daughter suffers from severe anxiety and emotionally has gone through a lot- especially from when I fell ill.
“She’s so happy that it’s come to where it’s come and says mummy even if we can’t get a chocolate bar to everyone they will read about it in the news and see that we’re trying.
“It’s just been a really good distraction and I get that release from having a repetitive task.
“This has helped us keep busy and mentally distracted from all the negativity by doing something so positive.”