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Actors Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory urges Suffolk to “dig deep” after launching FeedNHS

PUBLISHED: 18:15 27 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:34 27 March 2020

The thespian couple were talking on GMB on Friday March 27 about their campaign called FeedNHS in the coronavirus crisis. Picture:GMB

The thespian couple were talking on GMB on Friday March 27 about their campaign called FeedNHS in the coronavirus crisis. Picture:GMB

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Actors Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory are taking leading roles in helping frontline staff in the fight against coronavirus while in isolation at their East Anglian home.

Damian Lewis won an Emmy award and a Golden Globe for his part in Homeland as Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody. Picture: IMDbDamian Lewis won an Emmy award and a Golden Globe for his part in Homeland as Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody. Picture: IMDb

The couple, who have a home near Sudbury, are helping to spearhead their FeedNHS campaign

which they have initiated through Leon, a fast food restaurant chain which has branches across the UK.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain from their Suffolk home, the couple told how they came up with the idea after speaking to friends working for various hospitals across London where there are repeated appeals for food.

Helen, who played Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films and is currently starring in the popular Peaky Blinders television series, said: “We’ve been talking to them all working on the frontline about what they needed and one thing that came up again and again was food.

Helen McRory plays Polly Gray in the smash hit BBC television drama Peaky Blinders. Picture: IMDbHelen McRory plays Polly Gray in the smash hit BBC television drama Peaky Blinders. Picture: IMDb

“Places like St Mary’s in Paddington don’t even have a canteen and with all the canteens and local eateries all shutting down and the staff doing longer and longer hours, how to feed everyone is becoming a real problem.”

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Damian, who has won an Emmy and Golden Globe awards for his role as Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in Homeland as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the mini-series Band of Brothers, explained how it came about.

He said: “A friend of ours called Dr Bob Klaber OBE is a director of strategy, research and innovation at the Imperial Trust which is responsible for five of the largest hospitals in West London, just said, ‘yes - we need food’.

Damian Lewis and Helen McRory were speaking from their home in Suffolk about their new campaign FeedNHS amid the coronavirus crisis. Picture: IMDbDamian Lewis and Helen McRory were speaking from their home in Suffolk about their new campaign FeedNHS amid the coronavirus crisis. Picture: IMDb

“And how do we get food directly into the hospital especially those working on the red wards, the Covid-19 wards who are all kitted up in their PPE gear?

“It’s a health hazard to take it off, it takes time to take it off and how do we get them food?

“So Bob mentioned that Leon was a popular restaurant amongst hospital workers and we happen to know the founders of Leon so we got in touch with them and put the two together and now we’ve got 6,000 meals hopefully starting today.

“Going out to these hospitals and with trucks full of lovely hot meals with breakfasts, lunches and dinners being backed up to an entrance at the hospitals and then being distributed across.”

Initially, the acting duo were sending in pizzas to their friends and colleagues in the NHS before realising the extent of the problem.

Helen said: “The pictures of people, not only so happy to eat because they’ve been there for so long but also to know that everybody really cares and wants to give the kindness back that those people are giving us, is such a privilege.

“We all want to help. We all want to be involved. And this is just the seed. We’ve just started this with Leon and a few places in London but this is hopefully going to be a blueprint that’s now going to go nationwide.

“Everyone can look at their own local hospitals and their own local eateries and think, what can we do? Because one thing we are all on, is online.”

Leon is already offering NHS staff a 50% discount and all profits made from the campaign will go straight back into the NHS.

Helen pleaded with the public to help as much as they can and said: “Instead of sending another meme, go on the Leon website.

“There’s a ‘JustGiving’ page that pops up and just give. Your money will buy food for the NHS.”

Damian, also a producer, urged: “So dig deep Suffolk!”

To donate to the FeedNHS campaign, press here.

For regular updates on the coronavirus, press here.


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