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M&S stores across Durham and Darlington have been raising funds for NHS Charities Together over the last few months and customers have already raised over £18,113,95.

(Total raised is to date since April, up to w/c 10th August 2020)

All money raised for NHS Charities Together goes towards helping local communities and North-East based NHS charity, County Durham and Darlington NHS Charitable Trust, is one of a number of recipients of recent donations.

Suzanne Vickers, 49, is matron for palliative and end-of-life care at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, and her patients were able to stay connected to their loved ones using iPads provided by NHS Charities Together.



Suzanne said: "Covid-19 patients often decline rapidly, and visiting restrictions mean they can't be with their relatives. The iPads have made a massive difference, connecting patients to family members, pets and sights and sounds that provoke happy memories. We had one patient in hospital who said goodbye to his son using the iPad. His son was sitting in the back garden, so he was able to listen to the birds, one of his favourite sounds, one last time. There are 30 amazing palliative care nurses in my team, and seeing them with their relatives has given comfort to families - knowing someone is with their loved one at the end of their life. We've seen people who'd been married for 60, 70 years saying goodbye, and we could reassure them: 'I'll sit with her, she won't die by herself.' We feel privileged to do this job, to know we make a difference."

Andrew Crooks, Head of Region for M&S North East said: "County Durham and Darlington Trust plays an essential role supporting the community and we can't thank them enough for their incredible efforts over the past few months.  The donations raised so far at our stores have already done so much, and we look forward to raising more funds this month with our customers support."

M&S's partnership with NHS Charities Together, has so far raised over £18,113,95. across the UK for NHS good causes.

Donations from M&S have been raised through a number of initiatives, including the retailer's Rainbow Sale (where 10% of each purchase, excluding VAT, is donated to NHS Charities Together), limited edition NHS Charities Together Bags for Life, M&S's All in This Together T-shirts and through one-off donations at the till points. Throughout August, customers will continue to have the opportunity to donate to NHS Charities Together.

Customers can continue to get involved in lots of ways including selecting NHS Charities Together as their Sparks charity (M&S's loyalty scheme) meaning M&S donates** on their behalf every time they shop in any store or online.

Stores across Darlington and Durham that have contributed to the fundraising are: West Park Darlington, Arnison Centre Durham, Dalton Park Murton Outlet, Bishop Auckland and Hartlepool.

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital