Our CEO, Ellie Orton, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to the NHS during Covid-19.

The charity has been at the vanguard of supporting NHS staff, volunteers and patients during the pandemic, raising over £150m thanks to the efforts of fundraisers like Captain Sir Tom Moore, Joe Wicks, Premier League footballers and thousands of people across the UK.

Speaking about the award, Ellie said:

“I am so proud to receive this award because it is public recognition of the tireless efforts of our small, dedicated staff team, trustees and partners of NHS charities Together who worked so tirelessly to get the funds raised straight to the frontline of the NHS within days of launching our appeal.

“This really has been a case of team work on a national scale. For me, this award is also for the public because it was their astonishing response to our appeal, their desire to be there for the NHS, which helped us raise such a huge amount of money.”

“Thank you to those who ran, walked, swam, cycled and took on every other challenge you can think of to raise money for our cause, and to all those who put their hand in their pocket to support us.”

Under Ellie’s leadership, the charity raised £100m in the first six weeks of its Covid-19 appeal. It created a UK-wide grants programme from scratch, distributing £20m in urgent funding within weeks and £30m within six months .

So far it has made £125m available to NHS charities in every part of the UK, funding a range of projects supporting staff, patients and volunteers. These have included bereavement support for patients, counselling and wellbeing support for staff, research into Long Covid, projects to keeping isolated patients connected with loved ones, specialist equipment, and funding for thousands of emergency response volunteers.

The evidence shows these projects are already making a huge difference for frontline staff, with over three in ten NHS staff surveyed saying they most value the counselling support and support with practical needs, like food and drink, that have been provided by NHS charities.

Responding to the news, Ian Lush OBE, Chair of NHS Charities Together, said:

“Ellie thoroughly deserves this award. She has led the charity through the most extraordinary year as it has gone from a tiny organisation with a team of 4 and an income of £400,000 to one that has raised over £150m and got vital support out to the NHS in every part of the UK.”

“Ellie seems to have limitless energy and has worked so hard with her team to channel the funds we have raised out to where they can make the biggest difference supporting NHS staff, volunteers and patients. She is just a passionate champion for the NHS and the people who make it tick.”

The NHS Big Tea

Ellie’s award comes as the charity is urging the public to take part in the NHS Big Tea, taking place on the NHS’s birthday on 5th July. It’s an opportunity to be part of a national outpouring of thanks while raising money for the incredible people in the NHS who have been there for the nation over the last year. Everyone can take part by raising a mug or holding their own virtual or physical tea party (following the latest social distancing guidance) at 3pm on that day or at any time that suits them on or around that date.

Funds raised will increase the practical and emotional support available to NHS staff, patients and volunteers are they continue to battle the Covid crisis and start down the long road to recovery.