People across England have been donating chocolate Easter eggs to key workers such as NHS staff to say ‘thank you” during the coronavirus pandemic.
From local football clubs to multi-million pound companies, many have said they wanted to show support over the Easter holidays.
Chris Collins, who donated eggs on behalf of the sports team he coaches, said it was “our little way of saying thank you very much”.
Mr Collins, 50, and his wife, Suzy, 40, originally bought 40 eggs to give to the players of the Bootham Futsal Club.
After the outbreak, with all club fixtures and training suspended, the couple – from York – said it was “only right” to donate the eggs to the nearby York District Hospital.
“We thought, it’s the least we can do for the NHS,” Mr Collins said.
“There’s not a lot of good news around at the moment, people are struggling, but when things go wrong it brings out the good in people,” he added.
“It’s such a minor thing we’re doing, but hopefully it will make staff smile while doing what is a horrible job at the moment.”
Bettina Biazzo, 39, started raising money to get 75 Easter eggs to staff at Crawley Hospital.
“One of my friends works at the hospital and said ‘I’m trying to get eggs for my nurses’, they’re working such long hours, they haven’t got time to queue up at the shops to get Easter eggs.”
Between her and a colleague, Ms Biazzo said they had raised enough to buy 100 eggs each and planned to deliver them as a surprise.
“I think we all feel helpless in the lockdown,” she said.
“I’m stuck indoors and wanted to do something. I think people, especially those who are self-isolating and haven’t got friends or family nearby, want to feel like a part of something.”
Football coaches Adam Everett, 17, and Jake Garner, 18, from Ely, Cambridgeshire, also donated chocolate eggs meant for players in their girls squads.
Mr Everett, whose mother is an NHS nurse, said: “They’ve been doing selfless acts for other people’s wellbeing, they should be rewarded for that.
“I know I don’t want to go out and risk myself getting the virus, but they’ve got to.”
Surprising staff with the gift at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Mr Everett said: “They didn’t have a clue, I went in and said ‘I’ve got 27 Easter eggs for you’, they were shocked and really grateful for the act of kindness.
“I think everyone’s starting to realise week to week how severe this virus is, and they’re starting to look at what they can do for others.
“The issues we have as a country have been put to one side and everyone is having to get along, it feels like a very united country,” he added.
Louisa Hobson, who lives near Winchester, said she wanted to do something for NHS staff, but rather than give them something “essential” like personal protective equipment (PPE), she wanted to “put a smile on their faces”.
The 41-year-old started a crowdfunding page, raising enough to purchase 300 Easter eggs, to be distributed to Winchester Royal County Hospital, Alton Community Hospital and a local GP surgery.
“I thought about staff not being able to see their families over Easter and wanted to do something to let them know we were thinking of them,” she said.
“It’s something nice to do and it’s also achievable for a lot of people, a lot of us don’t know where to get things like PPE, but this is more a morale booster than anything else.”
Large retailers and manufacturers have also been stepping up to get Easter treats to NHS and other front line workers.
A spokeswoman for confectionery company Mars Wrigley said more than one million eggs had been donated to hospitals and councils either directly or through charities.
Kerry Cavanaugh, the company’s marketing director said: “This is a small gesture to say thank you to our NHS and carers for their amazing work at this extraordinary time.”
Retailer Marks and Spencer has said it will be giving all emergency services, health and social care and NHS workers a free Percy Pig Easter egg.
A spokesman said the company wanted to “do our bit” to support families celebrate Easter during “this difficult time”.
Chocolate makers Cadbury said more than 250,000 Easter eggs had been delivered to NHS and care home staff, as well as those at risk of food poverty.
Brand manager Claudia Miceli said: “We’re pulling out all the stops to support those making such incredible self-sacrifice”.