Personal stories from NHS staff inspire ‘thank you’ pins

On 1st October 2021
Categories: 2021

The hard work and commitment of NHS staff across the UK during the Covid 19 pandemic has inspired a ‘Thank you’ pin badge that will raise vital funds for NHS Charities Together.

The pin badge was created by TMB Art Metal as a way to give back to the NHS and its staff working tirelessly on the frontline. Each one represents an everlasting tribute to their sacrifice and £10 from every sale will be donated to NHS Charities Together to provide extra support for NHS staff and patients.

The design of The ‘Thank You’ pin is based on the hands of six frontline NHS staff symbolising the loving hands of all the NHS staff who have cared for us and held us through some of our hardest moments.

The recycled Spitfire metal that the pin badges are crafted from signifies the hope and resilience demonstrated throughout this most challenging time in the NHS’s history.

Read the stories of the NHS staff behind the hands below.

May Parsons

May (pictured above, left) was managing an escalation ward on the first days of the pandemic and volunteered to be redeployed to ITU for three weeks during the first wave to help with critically ill patients.

The experience proved to be a challenging and scary one due to how little was known about the virus and the fear of passing it on to loved ones. Despite this, May showed her staff that she was with them to provide their Covid patients with the same dignity, passion and compassion they have always had.

May has since administered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination and is still working at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, where she continues to compassionately lead and support her staff, and their wellbeing.

May said:

“I am extremely honoured to represent my exemplary colleagues within the NHS for this project. Our hands are the loving hands that care for our family, our friends, our community and all the patients we are privileged to care for. These hands will hold you in your happiest times and in your darkest loneliest hour. With these hands, you are never alone. We will always be here for you and your loved ones.”

Fathma Shabbir

When the pandemic hit, Fathma had recently started working as an ITU Nurse at Ealing Hospital Intensive Care Unit, the same hospital where she was born and therefore a special place to her.

As patient numbers rose, staff were completely overstretched. For Fathma, the second wave was even worse than the first as she witnessed so many young people die.

Fathma said:

“This Covid period has been extremely tough and tiring, but it is the team I work in, the people I work with, who are like my family, that help me get through it. Having all these hands come together, in a way represents that we are a team – that’s really nice.”

Faisal Yousaf

Faisal (pictured above, centre) is a porter at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust. When the pandemic hit, Faisal was on the frontline in the Emergency Department, as well as the admission unit taking patients to and from the ITU.

Being FIT tested for full PPE was a scary moment, and Faisal saw first-hand the expressions, body language and scars of the doctors and nurses who had been in full PPE for over 12 hours.

Despite the challenges, Faisal feels proud to work as part of a team caring for patients and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Faisal said:

“I feel overwhelmed to be a part of this project. I’ve been at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust around 2 years and to me my colleagues are not colleagues but friends and family. I have so much love and respect for all of them. I wouldn’t be here without their support.

“I love working with such amazing people and to represent them in this project is an absolute honour.”

Samuel Opoku-Mensah

Samuel is a Ward Manager at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, where no day was the same once the pandemic hit. This allowed Samuel to challenge himself and to go above and beyond to provide care for the most vulnerable at a time when the level of risk had increased significantly.

The loss of patients and staff had a massive impact on staff wellbeing, yet through the support of his team Samuel knew that he wasn’t alone.

 Samuel said:

“Tough times should not define you, because life can change in a twinkle of an eye, therefore appreciate the people around you. Remember tough times never last forever, but resilient individuals do.”

Kathryn Gill

During the pandemic, Kathryn (pictured above, right) was a band five nurse working in the cardiothoracic ITU at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, which became a Covid ITU during the height of the pandemic.

During this time, Kathryn witnessed more deaths than in her seven and a half years in the NHS. Many of her medically trained colleagues would often comment that working in ITU was worse than any field hospital they’d been in.

Kathryn is grateful for the support from colleagues across all areas and specialities, as well as the public for following lockdown rules.

Kathryn said:

“I hope that by creating these pins and raising money for NHS Charities Together, we can bring the original meaning back to the claps and support the NHS and its patients to recover from the horrors of this past year.”

Dr Amie Burbridge FRCP, MMedEd, MBChB

Amie is a Consultant in Acute/General Internal Medicine at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and has been working on the frontline during the pandemic, documenting her life during the BBC documentary “Pandemic”.

Having faced the unknown and unable to imagine life ever going back to what it was like before, Amie is amazed by the way everyone in the hospital worked together as a team to fight Covid and appreciates life more now, especially watching the changes in the garden through the seasons.

Amie said:

“Being invited to be part of ‘the hands’ was an incredible honour. The hands perfectly represent how everyone in the NHS has come together to work in partnership.  For me it really tells the story of how walking hand in hand, supporting each other, and providing strength has helped cope with the unprecedented difficulties that the NHS has faced during the pandemic.”

Who would you like to thank?

TMB Art Metal and NHS Charities Together are asking the public to share their own stories and who they would buy or wear one of these special pins for. It could be a friend or family member who works or has worked for the NHS, a member of staff who helped them through a difficult time, or someone who has gone above and beyond to provide support.

Share your stories on social media and tag NHS Charities Together at:

Twitter:                @NHSCharities
Facebook:           @NHSCharitiesTogether
Instagram:          @nhscharitiestogether

NHS Charities Together will use the funds raised from the pins to provide additional care and support for the NHS to enable it to do more than would otherwise be possible for staff, volunteers and patients as they continue to battle the Covid crisis and start down the long road to recovery.

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