STAR readers have raised more than £3,500 for St Helens, Whiston and Newton-le-Willows hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the beginning of the crisis, our thoughts quite rightly were with the amazing staff at our hospitals who were working hard to help us all in unprecedented times.

Some moved out of their homes to protect their loved ones while they worked on hospital wards. Others came back into the workforce after retiring to help those in need.

Here at the Star we wanted to help our readers to directly give back to our incredible NHS staff.

With this in mind we launched a Just Giving page and since March it has amassed more than £3,500 in donations from you, our readers.

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We've also seen donations made by other businesses, including St Helens Theatre Royal, which asked people to donate to the cause after watching their digital pantomime.

The funds will now be given directly to Whiston and St Helens Hospital Charity which looks after all of the hospitals within the trust.

Ann Marr OBE, chief executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust, said: "We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of people across our communities.

"The generosity and goodwill shown to our staff during these challenging times has been remarkable and is very much appreciated.

"On behalf of everyone at the Trust I would like to say a heartfelt thank you."

The fundraising was part of a wider effort by the Star's publisher Newsquest, which has a network of newspapers and websites across the country.

In March, the Support Our NHS Guardian Angels campaign was launched in response to the biggest threat facing our nation since the Second World War.

With the country in lockdown and the urgent need for medical supplies, the newspapers asked to dig deep to support our heroes on the frontline.

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Over the course of the past four months, with generosity that has been both exemplary and moving, readers in their thousands have donated to our appeals.

In total across Newsquest’s network of local papers, our readers have raised more than £503,990 for hospital charities and trusts up and down the country.

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has issued a special message of thanks to our readers for their incredible efforts.

He said: “I am incredibly grateful to all the readers of for their generosity during the colossal national effort to tackle coronavirus.

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“For nearly 72 years, the NHS has always been there for us, and this global pandemic has been its toughest challenge yet. Across the whole country, the bonds between our heroic NHS staff and local communities have been further strengthened by the support of your readers.”

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock

As the nation takes small steps into the unlocking period and hopefully towards a new normal, we wanted to take the time to say thank you to our compassionate readers who have supported our NHS through this pandemic. In years to come, the difference you have made will not be forgotten.

Editor of the St Helens Star, Andrew Kilmurray, said: “This appeal has been a huge success and we are thankful to everyone who has donated to these incredibly worthy causes.

“Local newspapers do so much more than delivering news for the communities they serve and this is a text-book example of regional news teams going above and beyond, at a time of crisis.

“The generosity of our readers up and down the country has been second to none. It is heartening and captures the nation's kind-hearted spirit to support our heroes on the frontline.”

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