COVENTRY’S Mike Chalmers is one of 150 UK Red Cross volunteers rewarded for putting ‘kindness in action’ on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The dedicated humanitarian worker has been awarded a rare Red Cross coin for his outstanding contribution during the crisis, as the organisation celebrates its 150th anniversary. Featuring bespoke artwork by Henry Gray, the coin bears the words ‘The Power of Kindness’ reflecting the organisation’s ethos of selflessness, compassion and goodwill.
Since the start of the pandemic British Red Cross staff and volunteers have provided practical support to almost 13,000 people in the Midlands by making around 4000 food deliveries, more than 1000 medicine deliveries and helping the NHS to transport patients safely home from hospital.
Mike, who has been volunteering for the Red Cross for more than 30 years, was tasked with overseeing a fleet of 180 loaned vehicles from Land Rover.
He said: “The cars have gone to a mixture of teams across the UK and we’ve done 163,000 miles in three months.
“Ambulance support do patient transfers from hospitals to homes. The emergency response and independent living teams have been doing food parcels and food distributions with FareShare and they’ve been doing medication pick-ups and welfare check-ups for people as well.
“Ambulance support teams had about 50 of those cars spread right around the country. Some of those have been to discharge patients, some of those have been for extra staff vehicles, and moving kit [PPE] around.
The Red Cross has worked with Land Rover over 65 years to help communities prepare and respond to emergencies.
Mike said: “It has been great to have such a large contribution from Land Rover to add to our fleet. Managing a large logistical operation during a pandemic has been a learning curve when we’ve been faced with challenges such as key transports hubs such as train stations, airports and seaports being closed, and other key suppliers shutting down.
“Despite the challenges, it has been great to work with Land Rover, and a real asset to have such a long-term partner so willing and able to help us scale up a national response when crisis hits.”
From the Aberfan disaster to responding to an emergency every four hours in 2017, Red Cross staff and volunteers spring into action when crises hit. Earlier this year, when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, thousands joined the charity to support the most vulnerable by providing practical and emotional support through their national support line, providing cash grants, food and other essential supplies.
British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said: “We are honoured that the Royal Mint has chosen to acknowledge 150 years of support by the British Red Cross to people in crisis.
“Today our staff and volunteers are putting kindness in action at the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been supporting the most vulnerable by delivering food and medicine, making sure refugees and people seeking asylum are safe, providing a supportive ear through our national support line and helping the NHS to get patients home from hospital.
“From then to now, it’s all down to the dedication of our volunteers, staff and the generosity of our supporters that we can continue our lifesaving work. And it is the power of their kindness that will ensure we are there for those who need us most for many years to come.”