Essex players make hot meals for 'incredible' NHS staff

Essex players delivering meals
Most of the meals are going to NHS staff working in intensive care departments

Essex players are helping prepare hot meals for NHS staff treating patients in hospital with coronavirus.

It is part of an initiative by Supporting Humanity, a charity delivering 1,000 freshly cooked meals a day to 13 NHS hospitals, as well as vulnerable people across London.

Off-spinner and T20 captain Simon Harmer was one of those to help.

"It's been described in the media as a war, and the NHS staff are on the frontline," he told BBC Essex.

"I think what they're doing is incredible".

South Africa-born Harmer was the County Championship's leading wicket-taker last season as Essex won the title, and also led them to the T20 Blast crown.

He was one of six Essex players to help make and pack the meals ready for delivery, along with skipper Tom Westley, Shane Snater, Rishi Patel, Robin Das and Eshan Kally.

"NHS staff are putting in a lot of hours while the rest of us are in isolation or lockdown at home," said Harmer.

"They're the ones who are putting their lives at risk every day - making sure that the public are getting the healthcare they need - so it's quite nice to be able to contribute in some small way."

Idris Patel runs the charity and spoke to local businesses and influential people to bring down the cost of the ingredients.

"Initially it was for 30 days during the lockdown period - now every day we're getting more and more calls from more hospitals and doctors," he said.

"I've had messages from doctors, surgeons and people from the NHS showing really good appreciation and telling us how much help this food is, because they're doing really long hours."