Strabane man says 'thank you NHS' with Christmas hampers

A STRABANE man has delivered hampers full of sweet treats and goodies to hospital staff as a way of saying 'thank you' to NHS workers this Christmas.

Talented artist Eamon Cooke has been inspired by the hard-working doctors and nurses who have worked tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

He had been keen to find a way of showing appreciation for their unstinting work so last month he began making festive decorations in tribute to them.

Eamon began selling the items, featuring the message 'Thank you NHS. Christmas 2020' complete with a Superman and rainbow logo, to raise money to make the hampers.

The appeal was posted on his Facebook page - My Art Work - and subsequently in this newspaper.

Selling at £2.50 each, the Springhill man managed to raise a grand total of £630.50 to help fund his charitable efforts.

On Saturday, he delivered 32 hampers to Altnagelvin Hospital - one for each ward - with a special note inside thanking staff for their continued work.

The hampers were filled with sweets, biscuits, chocolate, crisps and soft drinks, while toiletry items such as hand cream, shower gel and shampoo were also placed in some as well as the NHS decoration created by Eamon.

Thanking everyone for supporting his appeal, he said: "My campaign to thank our NHS staff this Christmas has been amazing.

"Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported me.

"I wanted to make a hamper for every ward in Altnagelvin for the staff to enjoy.

"The reason behind choosing Altnagelvin is because this is the place where I started a hobby I hadn't done for ten years.

"I initially thought I had 25 hampers to make up but later realised I had 32 to make."

He continued: "I raised in total £630.50. I made up 32 hampers and they've been delivered.

"I had to add few pound to my total raised for to finish the hampers.

"I wish to thank a few people. My girlfriend Catherine who helped wrapping the boxes and helped me shop for few things.

"My family for their help, Sean Crawford for his photographs of my hampers and last but not least, we thank our staff of the NHS because they're the real heroes.

"I hope that when this is all over our politicians pay them what they deserve!"

Since delivering the hampers Eamon has been inundated with messages of gratitude from health and social care workers who have been enjoying the treats.

"Thank you from Ward 42 COVID. Brightened our day right up. Thank you so much," read one message.

Another said: "We've just sat down to a cuppa with treats from our box. From all of us on night shift in COVID 21, thank you so much.

"Really appreciate it...A true superstar and very thoughtful of you."

To view Eamon's other wonderful creations, log on to https://www.facebook.com/CookeArt/

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