Local NHS staff have been treated to a cruise thanks to the people of Brixham.

The lucky Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust staff – who were involved in the organisation’s Covid-19 response – were thanked for their efforts with a cruise around Torbay.

The classic Brixham trawler Vigilance embarked on two separate cruises exclusively for staff members and also enjoyed lunch on board.

The boat is run entirely by volunteers, many of whom live in Brixham, and this has been a way for local people to say thank you for their incredible response over the past year.

Taking an especially keen interest in the cruises was Jon Welch, non-executive director of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. Jon is also a skipper of Vigilance, and he was at the helm for the two cruises.

Ray Longhurst, chair of the charitable trust which runs Vigilance, said: “We are delighted to offer these cruises to Brixham NHS and care staff who have done so much for the town during a very difficult period.

“We depend on volunteers, there are no paid staff, and as many of our volunteers live in Brixham we thought it a great way to say a sincere ‘thank you’.

“There is no commercial organisation involved, nor any politicians; it’s the people of Brixham acting from their heart, pure and simple.

“We hope our NHS guests had a wonderful day cruising with Vigilance which is part of the Heritage Fleet.”

Liz Davenport, chief executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very grateful for the generosity of The Vigilance Trust and all those who have made this trip possible for our people.

“This unique experience will certainly bring joy to our staff who have ensured that people in our community were able to receive the care they needed throughout the pandemic.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all of the businesses and members of the public who have sent cards, gifts and donations which have given staff a much-appreciated morale boost.

“Your generosity and compassion is truly appreciated, and your kindness will be remembered for a very long time.” 

Peter Pugh, staff nurse at Brixham Hospital who went on the trip, said: “We had a fantastic time out on the Vigilance, the crew were friendly and welcoming.

“After what has been a challenging year for the team, it was nice to be able to see some of them outside of work in a relaxed environment.

“It was also great being able to see a different view of Torbay. A big thank you to the crew of the Vigilance for facilitating this day.”

Original story by Nikki Belso on Torbay Weekly