The Duchess of York and her daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have been sending essential and luxury goods to hospitals, care providers and hospices at the forefront of managing the UK’s coronavirus response.
Sarah Ferguson, who was married to the Duke of York from 1986 to 1996, has helped to coordinate the delivery of 150,000 care packages to more than 80 locations during the lockdown.
Parcels have included meals and snacks, fresh fruit and hygiene items including masks, scrubs, and toiletries. In total, 49,020 surgical items have been delivered, 33,110 food parcels and snacks, 17,185 toiletries and 15,100 meals.
Recipients include Hammersmith Hospital, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and care homes in Milton Keynes and St Albans.
500 ‘kip bags’ including sleeping bags and basic essentials like toothpaste and sanitary pads have been sent to homeless people sleeping rough in London and Luton.
A spokesman for the former royal said she came up with the idea after asking doctors working for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs five London hospitals, what frontline workers needed most during the crisis.
“They said sweet treats because they were all under the cosh, so it started from there but now they are sending out personal protective equipment too. She has been tapping up all of her contacts to try to amass anything useful - from surgical scrubs to scotch eggs.”
The project comes as the 60-year-old this week launched a new charity, Sarah’s Trust, which has been providing lifesaving medication, food supplies and washing facilities in rural areas of Ghana.
The Duchess said: “‘It has been humbling to be able to see just a little bit of the incredible work being done by our NHS and other health workers and I’m proud that, working with my daughters and new colleagues at Sarah’s Trust, we’ve been able to make life a little easier for some of them.
“I’m also pleased that we’ve been able to support vulnerable children in Ghana, building on the sort of charity work I’ve been involved in for many years now.
The Duchess founded Children in Crisis in 1993 to provide education to forgotten children around the world and the charity has educated over 1.4 million children, and was a founder patron of Street Child when the two charities merged.
She has been coordinating the project from Royal Lodge, Windsor, where she still lives with her ex-husband Prince Andrew. Eugenie and her husband Jack are also staying there while Beatrice and her fiance Eduardo, who were forced to postpone their wedding in May due to Covid-19, remain in London.