Sir Alex Ferguson says he is “delighted we are now recognising the importance of our NHS” as Manchester United announced a package of measures to help the health service cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League club delivered over 3,500 Manchester United gifts for staff at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and the NHS Manchester Foundation Trust Charity on Wednesday.
United have also put 16 Manchester United Foundation vehicles on standby for the NHS with volunteer drivers available and donated medical equipment to the Salford Royal, including protective equipment, dressings and other club medical supplies.
United also delivered 30,000 non-perishable goods stored for use until the summer at Old Trafford to local food banks, hospitals and charities
Former United manager Ferguson knows only too well how crucial the NHS is, having undergone emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage at the Salford Royal two years ago.
“I’m delighted we are now recognising the importance of our NHS – as I experienced two years ago after they saved my life – the response to this pandemic has been magnificent and has made me proud of the way the club and the British people have rallied round to help. Well done,” said Ferguson.
Raj Jain, chief executive of Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “A huge thanks from me, the whole of the Northern Care Alliance, and in particular those at our Salford Royal site who were all really pleased to receive your generous donation.”
“This donation was a huge morale boost for them at this difficult time.”
United also say “the club stands ready to consider and accommodate further requests from the NHS for use of the facilities at Old Trafford”, which has been placed on a reserve list as a possible temporary blood donation centre.
NHS workers staying at Hotel Football – owned by former United duo Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs – will continue to get free parking.
Club staff, who all continue to be paid in full, have been encouraged to volunteer for the NHS – especially those who have reduced hours under these new conditions.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “The NHS staff and the volunteers fighting the virus are putting themselves at risk to keep everybody safe and doing a truly amazing job.
“They deserve thanks and praise from everybody for their work and their efforts every single day.”
United players will also be taking part in a new campaign launching on the club’s media channels on Thursday to express their appreciation for the NHS and for healthcare workers fighting coronavirus around the world.
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