Hampstead Garden Suburb sees fundraiser for the NHS – and a coronavirus tribute mown into the church lawn!

A drone-shot picture of NHS mown into the grass in Hampstead Garden Suburb.Picture: Richard Grethe

A drone-shot picture of NHS mown into the grass in Hampstead Garden Suburb.Picture: Richard Grethe - Credit: Archant

One of the country’s oldest residents’ associations has raised £16,000 so far for the Royal Free Charity’s Covid-19 emergency fund – and it is promising to match-fund whatever the total is.

The Hampstead Garden Suburb RA set out with a £5,000 target, but with donations pouring in, the aim is now £20,000.

Meanwhile, one enterprising resident artfully mowed the letters “NHS” into the grass outside the Hampstead Garden Suburb Free Church.

Emma Howard, who chairs the HGSRA, told this newspaper: “The Royal Free is very much our local hospital. We had some reserved funds that we had been thinking about how we could put the to good use. When I heard about the Royal Free Charity appeal I suggested to the secretary and treasurer that we do a match-funding scheme.

“We started off saying we’d go for £5,000, but we hit that in about 12 hours.”

Emma said the appeal has caught residents’ imaginations.

“People have been very excited about it,” she said.

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“And in general during this situation too, it’s been brilliant seeing how people really want to support the charity. We wanted to be involved in some way, while knowing that whatever we do can never be compared to the efforts of our NHS.”

Emma said the RA has set up a dedicated phone line vulnerable people in the area can call to ask for help during the crisis, and many neighbours had been helping with each others’ shopping.

One man, Richard Grethe, has taken paying tribute to the NHS one step further. On a sunny day he decided to nip his lawn mower across the road and – with permission from the church minister – cut the letters NHS into the patch of lawn near North Square.

He told the Ham&High: “We’ve got quite a lovely community here, and there’s a large lawn opposite the Free Church. I didn’t think the council were going to cut the grass so I decided to mow the letters in.

“But they did end up coming to cut it the next morning.”

Richard said he has friends who worked at the Royal Free and that it was a fun way of showing support. When the grass has regrown a little, he plans to repeat the trick.

To contribute to the HGSRA’s fundraiser, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/HGSResidents