People have been urged to donate to support their local NHS staff at the frontline of battling to coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at North Devon District Hospital are facing 12 hour shifts as they brace for the coronavirus epidemic. Picture: Over & Above/Guy HarropStaff at North Devon District Hospital are facing 12 hour shifts as they brace for the coronavirus epidemic. Picture: Over & Above/Guy Harrop

Over and Above, the hospital charity for northern Devon, has today (Wednesday, March 18) launched its new #HelpUsHelpYou campaign to provide vital support to overworked health staff.

Many are working 12 hour shifts and have little opportunity to get to a supermarket after work – or find the shelves stripped bare if they do.

To provide extra support for the doctor, nurses and all the key workers keeping the NHS going at North Devon District Hospital, the charity wants to be able to provide meal packages and essential items to enable them to keep going.

It also plans to provide a temporary dedicated rest area where there will be refreshments available.

Staff at North Devon District Hospital are facing 12 hour shifts as they brace for the coronavirus epidemic. Picture: Over & Above/Guy HarropStaff at North Devon District Hospital are facing 12 hour shifts as they brace for the coronavirus epidemic. Picture: Over & Above/Guy Harrop

People can donate online or send cheques to the charity office – details below – with all proceeds ring-fenced towards supporting staff during the crisis.

Stark scenes of overwhelmed health services in Italy and Spain have brought the scale of the pandemic home to television viewers – but it has also showed how much the health workers are appreciated, with residents showering them with spontaneous applause when they emerge from their hospitals.

Over and Above fundraising manager Ian Roome said: “This is a real opportunity for the public to show their appreciation to the NHS health workers during this difficult time – and indications are that it will get worse before it gets better.

“We at the hospital charity have set up a fundraising campaign to provide a channel for the public to give something back to the staff, who are so brilliant at their jobs and so fantastically dedicated.

“The utmost thoughts in our minds is the health and wellbeing of our NHS staff who are at the frontline of the fight against the virus.

“By donating it will show your appreciation of those people who are putting their lives on the line to help. Any donation big or small will be appreciated.”

If you would like to donate, go online at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HelpUsHelpYou or send a cheque payable to Over and Above to: The Fundraising Office, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4JB.