Professional footballers, schoolchildren and many more have raised more than £100,000 in just over two weeks to support frontline NHS staff in Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity launched the Covid-19 Rapid Response Appeal last month to provide support for healthcare teams working tirelessly to care for patients.

More than 2,000 people across the county have already answered the call for help, either donating to the charity direct or supporting one of dozens of fundraising challenges and virtual events set up.

The donations have enabled the charity to deliver ‘boost boxes’ of snacks and toiletries to teams across the hospitals as well as installing Staff Sleep Pods and fold-out beds to help people rest and recuperate.

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have all been so touched by the support shown by the community and the generous donations to the appeal.

“Our teams across the hospitals are all pulling together to ensure we can offer the best possible care for patients at this difficult time and these snack boxes and new areas to take a break really do make a difference.”

“Thank you to everyone who has already donated, it means a great deal.”

Deborah Elliott, critical care ward manager at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “It has been truly humbling to see how people have come forward to help and support our NHS teams over the past few weeks.

“We aren’t in this job for the recognition but to know that people in the community are thinking about us and doing their bit to support us is a such a morale boost.”

So far, £50,000 has been raised by the community with a further £50,000 from the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust as part of its £16.5m national donation to support charities during this time.

Fundraising efforts in the county include more than £16,000 of donations to men taking part in the Isolation Beard Challenge pledging not to shave during lockdown.

Pupils at The Rissington School, near Cheltenham, have released a video of them singing We are the World for the appeal and Gloucester Islamic Community has also raised almost £1,800.

Many sports clubs have also got behind the appeal with Old Patesians RFC organising a virtual keepy uppy rugby challenge, grassroots football clubs have donated their fines to the charity and several of the Cheltenham Town Football Club players have also done a sponsored head shave

The charity’s own Senior Fundraiser Karen Organ also got out the clippers shaving her hair off to raise £3,000 for the appeal.

“It has been truly heartening to see everyone from sports stars to businesses pledging to do their bit. My head shave was my own personal way of supporting our incredible hospital teams as they work so hard to care for patients during this difficult time,” she said.

“We knew people would want to get behind their local NHS staff with this appeal, but we have just been amazed at the speed at which people have come forward to help.

“Please keep the donations coming in as they are already making a difference, helping wherever the need is greatest in our hospitals. We will be working with the Trust to look at how we use the money to further support the teams in the weeks to follow.”

To donate to the appeal, please visit bit.ly/3a5pAeZ