HOSPITAL staff, patients and visitors have been supported through the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the generous staff and customers of Tesco in Dorchester.

Dorset County Hospital has received more than £1,800 from the Tesco superstore on Weymouth Avenue for its coronavirus appeal.

Natalie Hall, the store's community champion, wanted to support her local hospital through the current crisis and also provide care packages for patients and visitors to the hospital during these challenging times.

She said: "Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak here at Tesco we have helped the community as much as we can. We have supported the hospital in various ways such as donations for wards for necessities and treats to keep staff and patients going through this tough time.

"In the first couple of weeks when it all kicked off we saw the hospital was doing the Covid appeal, so we did a bucket collection in the store, raising £1,315 over one weekend thanks to our amazing customers and colleagues. People were so generous and it was really heartwarming.

"This was alongside a £500 grant award to the fund through our Bags of Help Covid scheme which has replaced the normal Bags of Help voting fund."

As well as the financial donations raised by the store, Natalie has also been involved in providing care packages for hospital staff, patients and visitors.

The Day Lewis Ward for the elderly, when they couldn't get any visitors, was surprised by a large donation of goodies and Easter eggs to keep spirits up.

Similarly, expectant fathers on the maternity ward were supplied with non-perishables and useful items such as shower gels because they were not allowed to leave once they came on the ward.

Simon Pearson, Head of Charity at DCH: "We are very grateful to Tesco in Dorchester for their support for Dorset County Hospital. Once again they have made a huge effort to fundraise for us and with the community behind them have achieved this fantastic result.

"We would like to pass on our thanks to Natalie and the whole Tesco team and also to the public for their continued generosity at this difficult time."