Staff at the school next door to Royal Lancaster Infirmary have launched a special project to say thank you to their NHS neighbours.

Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy has set up Operation Gratitude to gather weekly gifts and treats for hospital staff to thank them for their efforts during the Covid pandemic.

The school is sending the gifts to Bay Hospitals Charity for distribution to staff.

Bay Hospitals Charity funds the latest equipment for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and works to support staff working across its hospital sites.

Operation Gratitude was set up by the school’s Progress Leader for Year 10 and Teacher of French Sarah Taylor.

Sarah said: “This is a project that aims to show our appreciation and support for the Royal Lancaster Infirmary Staff who are working tirelessly to save lives next door.

“We have already had some wonderful donations for this cause and we hope many more local businesses and organisations will be willing to help us thank our local NHS heroes.”

The first donation made by Operation Gratitude was batches of traybakes from The Bake Away in Ribbleton and some hats from local hat company Vaga of Lancaster.

Businesses that donate gifts to the project are being encouraged to enclose business cards or notes of thanks so staff at the hospital know where the gifts have come from.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Aaron Cummins said: “This is a wonderful project and something I know our amazing staff at Royal Lancaster Infirmary will be really grateful for.

“If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us it’s the importance of looking after each other, and this show of appreciation from our closest neighbour is the embodiment of community spirit that we’ve seen during the last year.”

To make a donation to the project, email operationgratitude@ripley.lancs.sch.uk

To donate and support your local NHS hospital, contact Bay Hospitals Charity on 01524 516064 or visit www.bayhospitalscharity.org