Fund for families of Filipino healthcare workers lost in pandemic

Target of £20,000 to help Philippines families of NHS and social care staff who die from COVID-19

Picture of Bianca Hanbury-Morris, who has organised a fund for the families of Filipino NHS workers lost in the pandemic
Bianca Hanbury-Morris Picture: BalikBayani/PA 

A fund has been set up to support the families of health and care workers from the Philippines who have died from COVID-19 in the UK.

A group of about 100 people are joining in across the world – in Australia, Italy, Ireland, the US, Singapore, the Philippines and the UK – by running, walking, swimming and exercising to cover a total of 6,800 miles roughly the distance from the Philippines to the UK.

‘We want to symbolically bring them home one final time’

The group's website states: ‘We want to symbolically bring our countrymen and women home one final time.’ The site’s name Balik Bayani, comes from the Tagalog for a Filipino who has returned home from working abroad, and a word meaning hero.

The group was organised by marketing worker Bianca Hanbury-Morris, who has British and Filipino heritage, for the RCN Foundation.

‘They travelled a long way… to support family members back home’

Ms Hanbury-Morris said she felt she had to do something after hearing about the high number of Filipino health and care workers dying in the UK.

She said: ‘I thought, what’s the distance from the UK to the Philippines? Let’s get that emotional insight because these healthcare workers travelled a long way from home for a better life to support family members back home.’

By 29 May, they had raised just over £6,000 of their £20,000 target, having completed about 4,350 miles of the distance between them.

The government announced in April that the families of nursing staff who die from COVID-19 in the course of their work will receive £60,000

Picture of former auxiliary nurse Joan Rich, 101, who is walking laps of her local park to raise funds for the NHSCentenarian nurse laps her local park to support NHS

A retired nursing auxiliary aged 101 has raised more than £16,000 for NHS charities as she attempts to walk 102 laps of her local park before she turns 102.  

Joan Rich has walked 34 laps of the park in Felixstowe, Suffolk, and overtaken her original £1,020 target many times over. 

‘Even behind a mask, NHS staff always make you smile’

Ms Rich aims to reach her target by 11 September. By then she will have walked 35 miles.

Ms Rich said she was inspired to complete the challenge after seeing the letters 'NHS' picked out in the grass of the park.

She added: ‘Even behind a mask, NHS staff always make you smile.’

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