The Prime Minister has saluted the generosity of Daily Mail readers for their remarkable fundraising efforts as the paper came to the end of its MailForce charity appeal last night (Sunday).
A grand total of £11.7m was raised by readers and benefactors during the Covid-19 fundraiser, as the Mail hailed what it said was one of the most successful newspaper appeals in modern times.
The MailForce charity has bought 42.3 million individual pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers in the NHS, care homes and charities since launching its emergency response at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the 42,304,000 pieces of PPE procured by MailForce were tens of millions of masks and aprons, an airliner of 50,000 coveralls and most recently, the charity extended to providing state-of-the-art machinery for hospitals. The paper has reported MailForce has spent more than £1 million in ‘gold standard’ PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing systems for hospitals such as Great Ormond Street in London and Alder Hey in Liverpool.
The charity, which saw the support of NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, also helped establish new PPE production lines in the UK.
On top of reader donations, the fund was kick-started with help of benefactors including £1.25m from Mail proprietor Viscount Rothermere and a pledge from the CEO of US software giant Salesforce to match donations up to £3m.
The campaign was launched on April 29 with a 20-tonne plane shipment of PPE with 150,000 coveralls and masks from China destined for the NHS frontline at a time when the Prime Minister had recently been discharged from hospital after being treated for Covid-19.
Reflecting on the seven-month campaign, the Prime Minister said last night: “The Mail Force campaign is a remarkable achievement. I’d like to pay tribute to Mail readers for their incredible generosity and public spiritedness. Your contribution made a real difference to doctors, nurses and care workers on the frontline.”
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, added: “On behalf of everyone in the NHS, I would like to say thank you to the Daily Mail, Mail Force and all those who have supported this quite remarkable and historic charity mission.
“The vital PPE and state-of-the-art testing machines that their generosity has provided have been hugely appreciated wherever they have been received across the heath service and care sector.
“This very practical expression of support for the NHS during the greatest health emergency in our history has helped nurses, doctors, therapists and other staff who have cared for more than 110,000 hospital patients with Covid-19.”
An editorial with a message for readers in today’s Mail read: “We know our readers aren’t the sort to go in for self-congratulation. Having helped save the lives of those who have willingly put themselves at such huge risk for all our sakes would normally be reward enough.
“But on this occasion, as this remarkable appeal comes to its close, you should swell with pride. As the PM said, you have made a real difference. The Mail salutes you.”
Read more about the campaign here.