John Radcliffe staff to get free meals, organised by the former boss of McLaren F1

PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Deliveries will start at the Oxford Hospital today.

The former boss of the McLaren Formula One team has launched an initiative to provide one million free meals to frontline NHS workers.

Businessman Ron Dennis said he co-founded SalutetheNHS.org to feed thousands of hospital staff because he was "in awe" of their work to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

ICU, anaesthetic teams and A&E staff in Oxford will get the meals this week during their 12 hour shifts.

Ron Dennis said: "This is a time when all of us, individuals and businesses alike, need to stand up and be counted in the effort to combat Covid-19.

"We're all in this together. I am delighted to be leading this initiative to help ensure that vital NHS workers have nutritious meals while they work every hour in this fight. It means they have one less thing to worry about.

"We have called this SalutetheNHS.org because I think we are all in awe of the work they are doing to save lives."

The Dennis family is donating £1 million through their charity foundation Dreamchasing, alongside £500,000 in match-funding.

Tesco will donate food for the meals and the initiative is supported by catering group Absolute Taste and delivery service Yodel.

Deliveries will start at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford today, before moving to London's Great Ormond Street next week.

The meals will then be rolled out to more Government-targeted locations.

Co-founder of the initiative Nigel Harris, owner of Absolute Taste, said they wanted to help NHS staff in the "war against Covid-19".

He said: "We can make sure they get quality, nutritious and balanced food over a sustained period, so they can do what they do."

Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said the organisation was pleased to work with the initiative.

She said: "It is our joint aim to prioritise the well-being of our NHS workforce in their mission to give the very best care to patients and victory over Covid-19.

"We thank them for this highly dedicated and organised solution and we particularly love the thank-you notes in each food pack demonstrating to NHS staff how grateful we all are."

SalutetheNHS.org is now calling for other supporters to donate or make a contribution by ringing the dedicated hotline on 0800 497 0797 or visiting the campaign's Just Giving page.

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