NHS worker’s book documenting life during the pandemic to raise funds for charity
04 November 2020

NHS worker’s book documenting life during the pandemic to raise funds for charity

A healthcare worker from Sussex has created a book charting people’s experiences of the Coronavirus pandemic to raise money for the NHS.

Terrie Grinham, a Healthcare Assistant from Crawley, came up with the idea at the start of lockdown in March after noticing the number of people who were using the written word to help express and manage their feelings during the pandemic.

Terrie, who is part of the Haywards Heath Community team run by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, shared her idea to compile people’s creations into a book on Facebook, and was astonished at the response.

She said: “I thought it would be lovely to bring these diverse thoughts and experiences together to tell the story of the pandemic in one place. I posted a message on a Facebook coronavirus support group one evening and the next morning I woke up to hundreds of comments from people across the country who thought it was a great idea and wanted to be involved. We even had people from outside of the UK wanting to be a part of it."

After responding to each comment and asking people to submit their efforts, Terrie was supported by Águeda Moreno López, Fiona Burns and Jules Cooke to edit the book. With their help she sifted through the hundreds of poems, stories, letters and illustrations that people sent in.

She explains: “I was lucky enough to meet Aggie, Fiona and Jules online and they offered to help me create the book, and I couldn’t have done it without them. It was so hard to pick what finally went in, but I think we’ve ended up with a cross section of society, with people of all different ages and backgrounds telling their stories. The brilliant Tanya Leverington offered to help us illustrate the book to help tie everything in together, and it looks amazing.

“I felt it was important that we had real voices and real reflections, so none of the entries have been edited. As you’d imagine, some are difficult to read, but there are also many light-hearted moments as people reflect on significant events with their loved ones and the positive things they’ve taken from lockdown, such as the spirit and resilience shown by their local community. 

“It’s been a labour of love, six months in the making, and I still can’t believe that my little idea has become a reality. I hope that, once the dust has settled, it will help us all to reflect on what’s happened. This has been a defining moment for the world, and I want the book to reassure people and remind them that they’re not alone, and fill them with hope. And if we can also raise money for our fantastic NHS, that’s an added bonus.”

 ‘Living during the Coronavirus pandemic: poems, artwork and reflections by children and adults’ is published by Legend Times, and is available now for pre-order on Amazon. All proceeds go to NHS Charities Together, which represents NHS charities across the UK.