A year of lockdown in Doncaster - how everyone rallied round to help those in the most need

Twelve months ago no-one could have foreseen the gargantuan financial impact that the pandemic would bring to our door.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 12:52 pm

The hardest hit, of course, was the NHS, which saw its wards packed to the rafters with patients, pushing its resources to the very limit.

Money was needed to continue with treatments, pay the heroes – the staff – working round the clock in such difficult circumstances and keep the doors open.

And this is when you all stepped up.

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Sir Captain Tom Moore

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From doing a sponsored run round the garden, to Crowdfunding, from donations of care packages to sweet treats. The people of Doncaster went above and beyond to help where they could.

Before focusing on some of those who did their bit locally we must pay tribute to the person who raised the most money for the NHS. Sir Captain Tom Moore, aged 99, aided with a frame, walked up and down his drive with the initial aim of raising £1,000, but the total rocketed to almost £33m with donations from 1.5 million supporters. Sadly Sir Tom passed away in February of coronavirus.

Back to Doncaster, there are far too many people who raised funds to mention so we will just focus on a handful, but think no less of any of the others.

Fundraisers rallied round to raise thousands for a memorial garden in memory of Kevin Smith and Dr Medhat Atalla - Doncaster's two NHS workers who died from coronavirus

In May, the widow of a Doncaster medic who died from coronavirus set up a fundraising campaign in his honour.

Kevin Smith, a plaster technician at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, died after losing his battle with COVID-19. He became the town’s first NHS worker to die from the virus.

Widow Diane set up the Kev’s Wheels Appeal in his memory to buy wheelchairs for DBTH.

Doncaster Town first team captain Luke Townsend and director of cricket James Ward who were involved in the Crowdfunding

Hospital staff also rallied round to raise thousands of pounds for a memorial garden for Kevin and his NHS colleague Dr Medhat Atalla, who also died of coronavirus.

Plans were announced last week for a huge multi coloured rainbow sculpture to be built in Doncaster town centre as an official memorial to the town’s 800 plus coronavirus victims.

The memorial will have space for 5,000 hearts. Each can be created via a donation of £20 using a special form available on www.dbth.nhs.uk, with all proceeds from the project to be directly reinvested in patient care and treatment at DBTH.

Doncaster Town Cricket Club lost approximately £20,000 in income over the last 12 months and they recently launched a Crowdfunder campaign in attempt to raise £18,000 to refurbish the Groundsman’s shed at their Bennetthorpe ground. The figure so far stands at

Virtual marathon runner Jade Ackerman


Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Mexborough’s Montagu Hospital were lit up with sponsored stars in December, in tribute to the efforts of NHS heroes.

The campaign was only made possible with the support of more than 60 businesses, organisations and families, who paid from £300 to £1,500 a star.

DFS committed £10,000, and in the process helped to raise more than £30,000 which was directly reinvested into patient care, treatment and facilities.

Doncaster runner Jade Ackerman completed the virtual London Marathon, running 26 miles on a route around Doncaster. She was

also raising funds for DBTH.

Doncaster Knights benefactor Tony De Mulder was left “humbled and amazed” after the club launched a Crowdfunder last May to bridge the shortfall created by Covid. The initial target was £20,000 but donations surpassed £50,000.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.