Actor James McAvoy has donated £275,000 to a Crowdfunder campaign supporting frontline NHS staff during the coronavirus emergency.

Masks 4 Heroes is the brainchild of four colleagues fighting the virus, setting out to increase the supply of personal protective equipment (or PPE) for healthcare professionals during the crisis.

Dr Mona Barzin, Dr Salaj Masand, Mr Ravi Visagan and Mr Nav Kumar initially created the campaign to raise £200,000 but now find themselves surpassing the £1,000,000-mark after an extraordinary 24 hours which saw the X-Men star catapult the project into the national press with his generous pledge.

The quartet have turned to crowdfunding to support the Government effort at this unprecedented time, using the money to pay for masks, gowns and gloves although they insist they are not competing with the official effort. Simply helping it, thanks to more than 16,500 supporters at the time of writing – the most to ever support a single project on Crowdfunder.

They will use the money the raise to buy PPE from oversees to supply doctors, nurses, paramedics, porters, cleaning staff, healthcare assistants, catering staff, physiotherapists and the army of NHS volunteers in hospitals across the UK.

Dr Salaj Masand told The Guardian: “We are overwhelmed and speechless at the trust and faith people have put into us to deliver this. The number of very generous donations from everyone doubled our target within three days.”

As a result of the high-profile donation the project received a huge interest most of the national press, and was invited to appear on Good Morning Britain to be interview by Piers Morgan, as well as James O’ Brien’s radio show on LBC and BBC1’s The One Show.

 

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The actor himself posted an impassioned plea on Instagram this morning (Sunday).

“Hello, my name is James McAvoy and I’m here to talk to you about an appeal called Masks 4 Heroes,” he told his 3.9 million followers.

“We have all heard stories about doctors and nurses having to buy their own personal protective equipment from the internet, or DIY stores, and the products aren’t good enough and frankly, neither is that situation.

“Not only does it put the doctors and nurses at risk of contracting COVID-19 themselves, but it puts them at a higher risk of passing it onto their patients, or their patients’ families, and giving them COVID-19.”

The Scottish star originally pledged £25,000 to the campaign but added a further £250,000 over the weekend.

“The situation is truly urgent, and time is of the essence. But there is a worldwide shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment),” he added.

The actor continued: “So what have Masks 4 Heroes done?”

“They have found a way to get more personal protective equipment to the NHS frontline staff using international sellers, selling verified CE and EN verified equipment. Now that’s important because it’s the good stuff. It’s the stuff that actually works.

“That means masks, high protection gloves, surgical gowns and they can get it all here by air freight in one week.

“That means that money donated today will save lives. It’s as simple as that.

“Now the Government are trying but they are overwhelmed and the NHS needs all the help they can get so help us, help the Government, to help the NHS to save lives. It is that simple.

“Swipe up and you can donate on our Crowdfunder page. Thank you so much on behalf on Masks 4 Heroes and on behalf of the NHS.

“I’m grateful and I know you are. Thank you.”

Support Masks 4 Heroes today