Preston business man pledges £200,000 to support city's NHS staff during Covid-19 outbreak
A Preston businessman has pledged £200,000 to support NHS staff during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Yousuf Bhaliok is calling on Preston people to rally together and help to raise £1m. for the city's NHS workers.
Mr Bhaliok says his family will donate £100,000, in addition to another private donation of £100,000, in a video he posted on Facebook over the weekend.
He also vows to make his BHS store in Fishergate available for storing, collecting and distributing food and equipment.
In the video, he said: “We are thankful that in this country we have the NHS and skilled doctors, and that the Government is trying to get the necessary ventilators, [personal protective] equipment and so forth, and ensure that they will be equipped very soon.
"But I have received a letter, and it concerns me that we need to support NHS staff: the doctors, the nurses, the many professionals in our hospitals.
"What I see in Italy, what I see in Spain, and what is happening in France, will soon also arrive on our doorstep. We pray for these victims and also for the health professionals."
He adds that medics are risking their lives to help people.
"We'll do what we can and where we can," he said.
"I am emotional in this because I have seen the loss of life."
The coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, and has become a worldwide pandemic. It has infected 5,683 and killed 257 people in the UK, as of yesterday (March 22). Some 36 people have been infected in Lancashire.
Mark Whittle, Preston BID manager, said: "NHS practitioners are working around the clock in these unprecedented times, and unfortunately our reliance on them will be greater than in modern history.
"I’m sure we all stand behind them, and all key workers, in doing what they can to mitigate the impact of this dreadful virus.
"Mr Bhailok’s fund is a prime example of proud Prestonians pulling together through tough times - it’s what we do best."
To donate please visit launchgood.com/nhspreston