Coronavirus: looking for good news – Run for Heroes and an opera-singing doctor

Running fundraiser for NHS and frontline workers raises over £1m and the BBC announces a star-studded Big Night In

The lockdown may be stretching the country’s patience to the limit, but it hasn’t deterred fundraisers trying to support the NHS and the workers on the frontline of the crisis.

One running challenge has gone viral and has already raised £1m; a BBC Big Night In will likely raise much more.

Running challenge raises £1m for NHS

A 5km running challenge has raised over £1m for NHS staff in just over two weeks after going viral on social media.

The Run for Heroes campaign challenges people to use their permitted daily exercise to run 5km, donate £5 to help frontline NHS workers, and then tag five others to do the same.

It has quickly spread on social media, with more than 200,000 runners taking part across 10 different countries.

“Your love and support has raised money to go towards wellbeing packs, accommodation and travel for NHS workers and volunteers, provide longer-term mental health support for staff and families effected, and help patients leave hospital quickly and safely,” Run for Heroes said in a post announcing the £1m total.

A number of high-profile celebrities have taken up the challenge, including singer Ellie Goulding, Olympic medal winner Mo Farah, footballer John Terry and DJ Chris Moyles.

The campaign was launched by London-based documentary producer Olivia Strong, 27, on 28 March with the run.for.heroes Instagram page. She originally aimed to raise £5,000, but after reaching her target in just four days, she decided to extend the challenge.

View this post on Instagram

1 MILLION POUNDS 🎉 🎉 🎉 Over 200,000 runners taking part, in over 10 countries, running over a million kilometres, raising over A MILLION POUNDS FOR THE NHS🤩 Your love & support has raised money to go towards well being packs, accommodation & travel for NHS workers & volunteers, provide longer term mental health support for staff and families effected and help patients leave hospital quickly & safely 💫 You’re all superstars & should feel very proud of what you’ve achieved. We’ve heard many stories from all across the globe ~ from keen runners, to those who’ve never run before, but that have come together for this cause. It’s been so heart felt to see and a shining light in these otherwise dark times 💕 Thank you again, from us all 🤚 you’ve got us all teary eyed 😩 Ps. What’s our next target? Artwork: @ivp_studios

A post shared by R U N F O R H E R O E S (@run.for.heroes) on

Star-studded lineup for the BBC’s Big Night In

Matt Baker, Zoe Ball, Lenny Henry, Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness have been confirmed as hosts of the BBC’s Big Night In, airing next week.

The programme, a first-time collaboration between BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief, will celebrate the acts of kindness and the spirit of hope that have sustained the nation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paddy McGuinness, Sir Lenny Henry, Zoe Ball, Davina McCall and Matt Baker
Paddy McGuinness, Sir Lenny Henry and Zoe Ball, Davina McCall and Matt Baker will host the BBC’s Big Night In to raise money for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Photograph: The Big Night In/BBC Children In Need/Comic Relief/PA

Peter Kay, Catherine Tate and Gary Barlow will also be taking part from home, with further stars to be announced.

Ball said: “We are always so blown away by folks’ generosity each year supporting Comic Relief and Children in Need and now, during these extraordinary times, more than ever people in our communities are in need of our love and support.”

The show will air live on Thursday 23 April from 7pm, with music, comedy sketches and competitions, and any money raised will be matched pound for pound by the Treasury, as announced by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, last week.

The money will be split equally between BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief to provide essential support to local charities, projects and programmes across the UK, to help people most in need of all ages and backgrounds.

Opera-singing doctor entertains NHS staff

A doctor who has returned to the NHS to help treat Covid-19 patients has been entertaining his colleagues with his opera singing.

Tenor Alex Aldren, or “Dr Opera”, has been serenading fellow medics by singing on the wards in his scrubs, even while wearing a face mask.

A&E nurse Mikaela posted a video of Aldren singing at Newham hospital in London, saying, “Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch”, and adding that he was “an amazing opera singer”.

Aldren trained in medicine but left the profession to become a tenor, and has recently returned to his old job, along with hundreds of others who recently left the NHS, to offer his skills in the fight against the pandemic.

"Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch" @AlexAldren you are an amazing opera singer!!! @NewhamHospital @EDTeamNUH @BBCNews @ITV @londonnewsnow Newham 🌈💙 YOU

— Mikaela (@mikaela157) April 7, 2020

In another video posted on Twitter, emergency doctor Russell said, “He’s treating the team to some shows during quieter periods! Bravo!”

One of our SHO’s today is Alex who’s also an opera singer, returning to the NHS frontline during the COVID outbreak.

He’s treating the team to some shows during quieter periods! Bravo! 🌹

— Russell with the Two Ls (@Medic_Russell) March 22, 2020


Jessica Murray

The GuardianTramp

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