Samworth Church Academy students are looking for support from the community to help raise funds for a television and stand for King’s Mill Hospital’s critical care unit (CCU).

The effort is prompted by the story of George Paterson, husband of Samworth Church Academy’s receptionist, Tonia Paterson. George became the final patient suffering from COVID to leave the unit after spending an incredible 115 days in intensive care.

Sharon Bassett is Education Welfare Officer at The Samworth Church Academy, and she has been organising various events for the fundraising effort including a surprise visit to the hospital by Mansfield Town’s Nigel Clough, to brighten football fan George’s day. 

Now Sharon says students are undertaking a 115-lap relay, covering 34,500 meters to raise further funds towards their goal. “I was inspired by George's wife Tonia, who, on the darkest of days, showed such strength and courage to come to work; being a role model for her two daughters and holding the family together.

“I felt that we, as a school, needed to pay something back for Tonia's commitment to The Samworth Church Academy, and the best way to do this would be to raise funds for Kings Mill Hospitals NHS Heroes, on behalf of us all. By linking the 115 days George spent in the critical care unit, to completing 115 laps round the academy track, we hope to raise enough money to reach our goal. The reaction and support from the students has blown me away and we need help to keep this momentum going by asking the community to support us.”

Sharon says she also wanted to organise something for George. “I knew George was a huge Mansfield Town fan, so it seemed fitting that I push my luck with the club and see if Nigel Clough would be willing to spare some time to visit George! With the help of Mark Stevenson (Head of Media & Communications at Mansfield Town Football Club) we managed to arrange a surprise visit to George in hospital. The Club were fantastic, Nigel gave his time generously and George's reaction was priceless. George has everything crossed that he will be well enough for first game of the season, -and Nigel commented that he might have to sit on the bench!”

Tonia Paterson, Receptionist at The Samworth Church Academy, and George’s wife said, “George is doing really well; he sees the physiotherapists twice a day and is working hard to be able to get home. He was absolutely over the moon that Nigel Clough took the time to visit him, he was so thrilled he never stopped talking about it all night to the nurses! He has a photograph from the day by his bedside.”

Sharon Bassett says she now hopes that the local community will back the academy’s efforts. “We know that many people want to say thank you to NHS staff, and to support the patients who are in their care. We hope that if people can, that they support our campaign to give a small token in return and support our students in their fundraising run.” 

Samworth Church Academy have set up a Just Giving page for anyone wishing to support the effort: