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Four NHS nurses have been chosen to front a major campaign by Marks and Spencer to both thank its customers for supporting health service charities and help further boost donations.
They will star in a new nationwide M&S campaign appearing in stores across the country to help raise funds for the umbrella organisation NHS Charities Together.
“I am not used to being in the limelight, so the experience was a little surreal but good fun”
The nurses chosen to feature in the high street retailer’s national campaign work in Edinburgh, North Wales, Oxfordshire and County Durham.
The four include Zoe McDonald, a senior staff nurse with the renal acute team at Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor, and Mhairi-Jane Ramage, a specialist practitioner district nurse in Midlothian.
The others are Ray Atienza-Hawkes, a charge nurse in the ambulatory assessment unit at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Suzanne Vickers, matron for palliative and end-of-life care at County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust.
Their stories about how NHS Charities Together has provided support during the Covid-19 crisis are being shared in M&S stores throughout August.
NHS Charities Together said it had received great support from many companies, including M&S, whose customers had already donated over £6m to its appeal by purchasing rainbow themed products.
Funding from Charities Together is being shared with hundreds of local NHS charities across the UK. It was the local charities that were asked to nominate candidates for the M&S initiative.
Mr Atienza-Hawkes was put forward for the campaign by Oxford Hospitals Charity staff, after working closely with him over many years on projects to improve the hospital environment.
He was photographed outside of the John Radcliffe Hospital on his day off, and spoke about his experiences working through the Covid-19 pandemic over the past months.
He said: “I am not used to being in the limelight, so the experience was a little surreal but good fun.
“We’ve had some truly difficult times in recent months, so it was nice to be recognised in this way, though I am sure the team I work with are going to pull my leg a bit,” he said.
Sam Foster, chief nursing officer at the Oxford trust, said: “Ray is a well-known nurse leader to all of us at our John Radcliffe Hospital – he epitomises our value of compassionate excellence in the manner that he delivers care to both our patients and our staff.
“He also has a unique presence of humility and leadership that fills the room, giving all around him the sense that virtual arms are around the patients, staff and their families – we are all extremely proud that Ray… has been chosen to represent us and his profession during this time.”
Read more about the four nurses and the charity campaign in the M&S website’s How you helped our NHS heroes section.