City's NHS staff receive dozens of care packages donated by United star Allan Saint-Maximin
Newcastle United Foundation teams are delivering more than 60 care packages donated by Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin to thank hardworking NHS staff.
Inspired by the work of the Foundation during the Covid-19 crisis appearing regularly on his Twitter feed, the Magpies star reached out to the official charity arm of the club to help him distribute gifts for Newcastle's key workers.
The 24-year-old Frenchman was motivated to give something back to "the real heroes" to lift the spirits of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust staff a year on from the UK's first lockdown.
With Newcastle United Foundation already connected to the NHS through the charity's work supporting young cancer patients and chronic illness patients in the city, Foundation staff were able to safely deliver the care packages on Saint-Maximin's behalf.
The United winger said: "We are in an incredibly fortunate situation as footballers as we know we are very privileged.
"The work the NHS staff and key workers at places like foodbanks have been doing here is inspirational and it makes you want to help as much as possible.
"I would like to thank everyone for all of their amazing work and to celebrate the real heroes of my city. These guys are all incredible and they are doing a wonderful job."
The donated packs include gift cards for High Street shops, luxury chocolate boxes created by boutique French confectioners, and a note of appreciation from Saint-Maximin dedicated to Newcastle's NHS staff. The note reads:
To our real heroes,
Game after game, I am fortunate to be warmly applauded by people from Newcastle! But this time I wanted to be the one who's applauding, I wanted to applaud you, the best team of my city, the hospital medical staff of Newcastle!
I have great respect for what you did!
Thank you for being there for us,
The Frenchman quickly became a firm favourite among Newcastle United supporters since arriving on Tyneside in 2019, celebrated for his exciting presence on the pitch and the way he has embraced the North East culture.
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, Saint-Maximin met with members of staff and volunteers at Newcastle's West End Foodbank to learn more about the centre and families who rely on the organisation for support.
Steve Beharall, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "This donation is a great gesture from Allan and we're delighted we can help him distribute the gifts safely and to key workers in our community who deserve so much thanks for their hard work over the last 12 months."
Newcastle United Foundation currently supports young patients receiving care for cancer and chronic conditions in Newcastle's Great North Children's Hospital. Here, children and teenagers in treatment are encouraged to play, learn, laugh and stay active alongside their siblings and relatives with a range of activities delivered by the Foundation through funding support from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, players of the People's Postcode Lottery and Great North Children's Hospitals Foundation.
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, Dame Jackie Daniel, said: "It's been a very tough and challenging year for our staff, but the level of gratitude and support we have received from our patients, the public and local businesses - both to the Trust and to Newcastle Hospitals Charity - has been truly remarkable and really helped to pull us through this pandemic.
"These care packages are a lovely gesture from Allan Saint-Maximin and our thanks go to him and to Newcastle United Foundation, whose incredible work makes such a difference in local communities."
For more information on Newcastle United Foundation and programmes for North East residents all of ages, visit nufoundation.org.uk.