She's safe... thanks to airlift: First picture of NHS nurse wearing Mail Force's PPE - as extraordinary photos reveal how vital gear went from China to our frontline in just 24 hours, and fund soars to £3m with £160k raised by YOU

Standing delightedly in her new coveralls, nurse Vicky Burns voiced the sentiments of all her colleagues yesterday, declaring: 'Can we just say a big thank you.'      
Within 24 hours of touching down on UK soil, a 20-ton planeload of personal protective equipment was on its way to the NHS front line yesterday, courtesy of Mail Force, the new charity dedicated to the battle against the virus.
And Miss Burns's hospital was the first to receive some of the precious cargo of 50,000 coveralls and 100,000 masks which have now been added to the NHS war chest by Mail Force and its growing army of supporters.
On a morning of several important deliveries, the Prime Minister's fiancée, Carrie Symonds, gave birth to a son at one hospital (in London), while our fleet of vans and trucks brought these urgently-needed PPE supplies from a Heathrow clearance warehouse to the main NHS distribution centre in the south Midlands for inspection and onward distribution.
Pictured: Vicky Burns, 31, tries on a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after the first PPE shipment arrived from China
Pictured: Vicky Burns, 31, tries on a coverall suit at Milton Keynes Hospital after the first PPE shipment arrived from China
The £1million cargo of PPE had filled every available space in the hold and cabin of the chartered long-haul airliner which flew in from Shanghai on Tuesday.  
By yesterday afternoon, the first consignments were on their way in to the field – to a hospital and an ambulance trust – while plans were drawn up for yet more Mail Force airlifts in the days and weeks ahead.
At the same time, support for the Mail Force campaign was gathering spectacular momentum. Created by the Daily Mail and its partners, Salesforce and Marshall Wace, the charity has been set up specifically to tackle the shortage of PPE equipment in this Covid-19 emergency.
The Mail's famously generous readers instantly lent their support yesterday, contributing more than £150,000 by mid-afternoon, by which time two of Britain's leading philanthropists had come on board in style. 
Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing and his wife, the art expert, Julia Rausing, donated £1million as a final tranche of a £16.5million package of emergency contributions towards fighting the coronavirus.
'Over the past month, doctors and nurses have put themselves as risk to battle the coronavirus for the nation,' said Mr and Mrs Rausing. 
'We hope this new initiative is another way of showing NHS staff our appreciation for them and the difficult work they are doing every single day.'
Contributions from private benefactors and our partners of £2.79million, alongside our readers' donations of £160,000, have now raised £2.95million for the campaign.
The sentiment was echoed across Westminster yesterday as senior Government ministers, including the new dad in No10, voiced support for Mail Force. 
At yesterday's Downing Street press briefing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab praised a 'fantastic' initiative by the charity.
He said: '100,000 masks, 50,000 coveralls all going to frontline workers in the NHS and care homes. You have got to pay tribute. The Daily Mail has contributed to that national effort and it all counts. So a huge thanks from the Government's side.' 
Dominic Raab applauds 'fantastic Mail Force campaign' for PPE
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Delivered: Nurses Vicky Burns (left) and Katherine Palmacci wheel in the newly delivered PPE kit at Milton Keynes hospital
Delivered: Nurses Vicky Burns (left) and Katherine Palmacci wheel in the newly delivered PPE kit at Milton Keynes hospital
The full kit: Nurse Miss Burns clad head to foot in the new PPE after it arrived at Milton Keynes University Hospital
The full kit: Nurse Miss Burns clad head to foot in the new PPE after it arrived at Milton Keynes University Hospital 
The whole purpose of this fast and furious quest for essential supplies, of course, is to make life safer for those putting their lives on the line for the rest of us. As many were keen to point out, it also reduces the general level of anxiety.
Among the first in line for a consignment was Milton Keynes University Hospital. 'I did read about this plane coming in full of PPE – and here it is,' said safeguarding specialist nurse, Katherine Palmacci. 'We are really grateful to everyone for their generosity and let me assure you that it will be put to good use.' 
The hospital's chief executive, Professor Joe Harrison, said: 'We would like to thank the Daily Mail and their Mail Force campaign for joining all of those that have donated PPE to NHS organisations up and down the country. 
Donations like these, funded by members of the public, help us to continue to meet the challenge of Covid-19. I know NHS staff will be eternally grateful for the contributions the public have made.'
The importance of the Mail Force operation was underlined last night as a survey by the Royal College of Surgeons revealed a third of its members had experienced shortages of gowns or masks in the last two weeks. 

Right on time: The Mail Force van arrives at Milton Keynes University Hospital today with its vital cargo of PPE supplies
Right on time: The Mail Force van arrives at Milton Keynes University Hospital today with its vital cargo of PPE supplies

Fit for purpose: Nurses Miss Palmacci and Miss Burns try out a coverall suit at Milton Keynes University Hospital
Fit for purpose: Nurses Miss Palmacci and Miss Burns try out a coverall suit at Milton Keynes University Hospital
The poll of 1,263 surgeons showed 33 per cent did not believe there was enough PPE in their hospital, with 34 per cent reporting inadequate supplies of gowns and 31 per cent warning of low stocks of masks.
The Government's procurement teams continue to do what they can in a frantic global race for the best equipment. 
Hard questions will continue to be asked by the press and public alike. But as is increasingly clear from the remarkable response to this campaign – and others too, of course – the British people have decided it is not enough simply to sit in judgment. 
They are determined to do whatever they can to help. 
She's safe... thanks to airlift: First picture of NHS nurse wearing Mail Force's PPE - as extraordinary photos reveal how vital gear went from China to our frontline in just 24 hours, and fund soars to £3m with £160k raised by YOU She's safe... thanks to airlift: First picture of NHS nurse wearing Mail Force's PPE - as extraordinary photos reveal how vital gear went from China to our frontline in just 24 hours, and fund soars to £3m with £160k raised by YOU Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:58 Rating: 5

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