North Wales nurse fronts national M&S campaign to help raise funds for NHS Charities Together

A local nurse from Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor, Wales, is starring in a new nationwide M&S campaign appearing in stores across the country to help raise funds for NHS Charities Together.

Zoe McDonald, 51, is a senior staff nurse with the renal acute team on the Hebog Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd and is one of four nurses to feature in the campaign. The nurses’ personal stories about how NHS Charities Together has provided crucial support during the Covid-19 crisis will be shared in stores across the country throughout August.

M&S stores across North Wales have been raising funds over the last few months and customers have already raised over £36,355 for NHS Charities Together.

All of the money raised for NHS Charities Together goes towards helping local NHS services and the North Wales NHS charity, Awry Las, is one of one of more than 230 NHS Charities that have received recent donations. The vital funds have supported the development of a wellbeing service that provides a support and counselling network for NHS staff, like Zoe, during the pandemic. The generous donations have also bought iPads for the wards to help patients keep in touch with their family, virtually, whilst in hospital.

 Zoe said: “The first time I had to go to a Covid-19 ward to dialyse a patient, I didn’t sleep the night before. I was terrified, literally shaking when I walked in. The staff on the ward were so good, they put me at ease and now it feels OK to go there. I put my protective gear on; it’s become part of what we do. The charity helped fund a wellbeing service that provides support for staff to talk to about their fears or how the pandemic was affecting them, anything really. I’ve heard from quite a few people who’ve used it and they said it helped a lot. The camaraderie of the staff has got me through. From my incredible manager to staff I’ve met for the first time, we’ve all helped each other.”

Peter Swallow, Head of Region for M&S stores in North Wales said: “Our local NHS Charity, Awry Las, 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 in M&S stores in North Wales have already done so much to support patients and their loved ones through these challenging times, and we look forward to raising more funds this month with our customers’ support.”

As one of four nurses to feature in M&S’s national campaign, Zoe features alongside Mhairi-Jane Ramage, a specialist practitioner district nurse in Midlothian, Scotland; Ray Atienza-Hawkes, charge nurse in the Ambulatory Assessment Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford; and Suzanne Vickers, a matron for palliative and end-of-life care at County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust.

M&S’s partnership with NHS Charities Together, has so far raised over £7,448,100 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 North Wales that have contributed to the fundraising are M&S Prestatyn, M&S Wrexham Eagles Meadow, M&S Oswestry and M&S Llandudno.

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