By David Hennessy
Bart Murphy of MP Moran and his family have raised £15,000 for PPE for those on the front line.
The Irish World reported in April that Bart, inspired by the Thursday night clap for carers, started to think about what he could do to help. He then set up a crowdfunding page. Donations came thick and fast and the initial £5,000 target was quickly passed, as was the next target of £10,000 as Bart used the money to get gloves, masks and other much needed items to the front line.
Bart Murphy told The Irish World: “Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, we’re delighted to hit that £15k target. We didn’t expect it to get that high.
“We reached that target on Saturday so we’re absolutely delighted that we made it.
“Everyone we’ve talked to has been really really overwhelmed by the level of support from not just us, there have been loads of community groups pulling together for them.
“We got 1,700 masks last week and we’ve got 1,000 face shields hopefully coming the next couple of days. That’s pretty much the final batch as it stands so we’ll be out getting those into hospitals.”
After weeks of fundraising, Bart and familiy received 500+ donations and delivered more than 17,000 items of PPE to 12 hospitals, trusts and charities.
However, Bart says the shortages of PPE are still evident in the calls and requests that he is getting.
“We had a call from a nurse in Kensal Rise last week and they’re all district nurses and they just don’t have any PPE coming through, no masks, no face shields, nothing.
“We did a drop last week to some cancer hospices. These people are scanning cancer patients on a daily basis or some of them are out in the community dealing with people face to face and they still don’t have all the PPE that they need.
“It’s definitely starting to come through quicker and it’s more readily available but there’s still loads of massive shortages around.”
Bart says he will continue if the funds continue to funnel in but he has noticed a slowing down.
“At the beginning we thought we would love to get to £5k, that came and went fairly swiftly. Then we went up to £10k and that one was reached fairly quickly. The £15k has been a bit more of a challenge. We’ve had to really push it to get that extra £5k because we’ve sort of exhausted a lot of avenues.
“But if we have more funds come through, we can allocate that to other items that people need.”
The effort has become a family affair with Bart and his wife Marisa getting help from their three children.
“They’ve really got on board with what we’re doing and they’ve written notes and drawn pictures and little thank you messages to go along with the PPE.
“They’ve been helping us box everything up and load the car up and stuff like that. It’s amazing for such a young ages. They all want to help out.”
Seven-year-old Florence says: “I’m really happy that my mummy and daddy are working so hard for the NHS. We are helping to save people’s lives by giving them the items they need to protect them from coronavirus. The NHS are fantastic and I am pleased we are helping them.”
Six-year-old Dominic added: “I am excited and can’t wait for Coronavirus to be finished so we can go on holiday again. It’s very nice that we are helping other people and I am very proud. The NHS do a wonderful job.”
Four-year-old Matilda said: “I am happy we are helping the doctors and nurses. They are really good people that need our help. I give them a big thumbs up.”
Bart continues: “Normally they’re well tucked up in bed by 7 o’clock but they’ve been desperate to stay up until 8 to go out and clap and show their appreciation with Florence saying, “It’s important to clap for the NHS so they can all see how proud we are of them’. They know the doctors and nurses are working really really hard.”
“Hearing some of the feedback, comments on social media and actually physically delivering PPE to the front line and seeing the gratitude etched on people’s faces has really motivated us to raise our target and continue this funding. We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity in donating at a financially challenging and uncertain time.”
Here are some of the appreciative messages Bart and his family have received from those they have been helping.
St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington said: “All of us at St Mary’s A&E want to say a huge thank you for kindly donating a huge amount of PPE. Myself and all of the team are so thankful. I can’t tell you how heart warming it is to see how in times like this, people pull together to look after one another. Don’t underestimate how much your generosity means. Keep safe, keep isolated and keep those hands clean.”
Hillingdon Hospital said: “Huge thanks from the doctors, nurses, midwives, clerical, admin and domestic staff and support workers for your incredible donations. We have been overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity.”
Watford General Hospital, Coronavirus Pod said: “Best Easter present ever”.
Northwood District Nurses said: “We are overwhelmed with support in providing PPE after having lost a 29 year old colleague to Coronavirus in March.”
Michael Sobell Hospice, Mount Vernon Hospital said: “Thank you so much to our kind supporters, Bart and Marisa Murphy, for donating PPE. We are blown away by the level of support we have been shown by our community in this difficult time.”
Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, Mount Vernon Hospital said: “Thank you for the masks. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate our help with this. It is down to people like you that we can carry on scanning cancer patients.”
You can donate by clicking here.