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Coronavirus: Newtownards salesman's £11k boost for vital PPE

Darren Kerr

A champion fundraiser for health causes has turned his talents to help fill the shameful shortfall of PPE for frontline health care workers.

Donations to Darren Kerr's fund have already topped £11,500 in just two weeks, with the money going to buy the vital hospital gear, while some of the cash is also being directed to providing communication tech for hospital patients and to local food banks.

The 38-year-old from Newtownards started raising money for good causes long before the current crisis when four years ago his cousin was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But as coronavirus hit Northern Ireland and the NHS needed help, he once again stepped up to the challenge, firstly by asking for donations over Facebook and PayPal.

"We raised enough money to order masks and also tablets, so whoever is stuck on a ward can use Zoom or Skype," he said. His friends and family rallied together to make donations including many businesses such as Belfast-based City Auction Group head Michael Tomalin, RBM Motors in Newtownards, Belshaws Removals and others.

With the help of friend and homelessness help volunteer Carla Hill Black, the much- needed equipment is now in the hands of NHS heroes.

He admitted: "That's what keeps you going, because it is hard work, constantly updating things on Facebook and delivering stuff, plus you feel bad because you can't cover everybody."

Darren, who works at the Sky stall in the Ards shopping centre, has devoted all his time to raising money after he was furloughed on full pay.

"I'm definitely not an angel, I just don't like to see people stuck," he said.

÷ To donate to Darren's fund go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/scrubs-for-nhs-ulster-hospital

Belfast Telegraph