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Hotel boss gives 300 free hot meals a week to NHS front line staff

PUBLISHED: 16:13 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:34 17 April 2020

Philip Turner, boss of the Chestnut group. Pic: Chestnut

Philip Turner, boss of the Chestnut group. Pic: Chestnut

A former banker who has just bought an inn in Norfolk is aiming to provide 10,000 free meals for NHS workers fighting coronavirus.

The meals delivered to the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital intensive care unit staff. Pic: ChestnutThe meals delivered to the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital intensive care unit staff. Pic: Chestnut

Philip Turner, boss of the Chestnut Group with inns and pubs around East Anglia, had to close all 11 of his businesses because of coronavirus.

But determined not to be beaten, he is now using his chefs to cook up nutritious fresh meals for front line NHS workers.

Chestnut, which recently purchased the Globe in Wells-Next-The-Sea, has teamed up with the firm Food4Heroes and the first meals were delivered this week to staff at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital’s intensive care unit. They included beef stew and dumplings and as a vegetarian option, butternut squash and mixed bean chilli with potato wedges.

And the not for profit initiative needs donations from local businesses and the public so it can add more meals and feed more hospitals in the region.

Chestnut chefs Jordan and Lewis, brothers, who therfore can cook together. They have been cooking up the meals for the NHS front line staff. Pic: ChestnutChestnut chefs Jordan and Lewis, brothers, who therfore can cook together. They have been cooking up the meals for the NHS front line staff. Pic: Chestnut

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Mr Turner said: “We have been inspired by many heart-warming initiatives across the UK and as East Anglia is our heartland, it makes complete sense to support our local front line teams as best we can. There has already been some great response by businesses and local people in the region.

“I would particularly like to thank both Hopkins Homes and Birketts for their very generous donations. To make sure we can continue to keep feeding our key workers we do need your support, so please keep donating.”

Chestnut’s aim is to donate 10,000 meals. The cost to produce one meal is £2.50 so a donation of £25 is equivalent to 10 free meals. The group runs several venues in Suffolk such as the Ship at Dunwich and the Crown at Westleton.

The meals delivered to the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital intensive care unit staff. Pic: ChestnutThe meals delivered to the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital intensive care unit staff. Pic: Chestnut

Food4Heroes, which is a national scheme, was prompted by a heart-rending online appeal by NHS worker Dawn Bilborough who was unable to buy food in her local supermarket after completing a 48-hour shift. To date Food4Heroes will have delivered more than 60,000 meals to 12 hospitals in England by the end of April.

Chris Rees, East of England director of Food4heroes said, “It is wonderful to be able to help and support our NHS heroes at a time when they are literally risking their lives to support the people of Britain during this crisis.”

You can make a donation by clicking here For more updates on coronavirus in Norfolk visit the Facebook page here

Philip Turner. Pic: Mark WestleyPhilip Turner. Pic: Mark Westley

The Globe at Wells-Next-The-Sea, recently bought by the Chestnut group. Pic: ArchantThe Globe at Wells-Next-The-Sea, recently bought by the Chestnut group. Pic: Archant


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