James McAvoy has said that he wanted to “start a conversation” so that NHS frontline workers who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic are aware of how much they are valued by the public.
The Hollywood star, who donated £275,000 to a campaign to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for health service staff, urged members of the public to follow suit and donate as much as they could to the crowdfunding initiative Masks For NHS Heroes.
X-Men actor McAvoy told Good Morning Britain: “One of the main reasons I wanted to give money, and why I upped the amount of money, was not just to get PPE across there, which is so important, but secondarily I’d say it was more to show a sign of support to the frontline staff.
“I’ve heard that morale is incredibly low and they’re feeling exposed and vulnerable and like they haven’t been supported properly.
‘I’ve heard that morale is incredibly low and they’re feeling exposed and vulnerable and like they haven’t been supported properly.’James McAvoy
“They’ve got to protect their families, and I just wanted to help start a conversation that says to the NHS, we value you so much.
“They’ve saved my life and the lives of my family multiple times, and they probably will be doing it at some point in the near future again, so please please please know we value you.”
Glaswegian actor McAvoy, 40, described Covid-19 as “an invisible enemy that (NHS frontline staff) are fighting every day on our behalf”.
He said: “It’s an absolute war zone and we’re asking them to go and fight that war with no weaponry, no armour, and I’m sure it’s going to get fixed in the coming weeks and months, but in that interim, what is happening right now, the threats that they face and the threat of them passing it onto their patients and their patients’ families is huge, so you know every day that goes by without the correct PPE is an opportunity lost to save someone’s life.
“The sooner that we can get PPE in there, even donating £10, that might mean you might potentially save a life because you provided essential PPE to a healthcare provider in this essentially important time to get it done.”
He added: “These incredible doctors that have set this amazing initiative up, you can give money to that, but I think also we’ve got to protect those incredible doctors and surgeons and porters and the lady that fills the vending machine at the hospital, and we’ve got to protect all of those people by staying indoors, we’ve got to protect all of those people by social distancing and by taking it seriously, and I think people are starting to take it more seriously.”
The campaign Masks For NHS Heroes was set up by a group of four doctors, and has raised more than £900,000 so far.
Their mission is to “purchase certified PPE to donate directly to the NHS front line and protect staff and patients”.
Dr Mona Barzin, one of those behind the campaign, told the programme that McAvoy’s donation has helped them to raise a larger amount than they first thought.
She said: “We thought we’d get a small amount of donations, then James gave us his first initial amount, which was also incredible, but then he upped it and it took us to a completely different level.”
McAvoy also discussed how those in the acting community are feeling amid the pandemic, which has seen the UK and other countries put in a lockdown-style situation to adhere to social distancing measures.
He said: “A friend of mine, whilst we were social distancing, he came to borrow something and I chucked it out the window of our flat.
“I said, ‘How you doing, man?’ and he said, ‘You know it’s great, I’ve got no anxiety about my career, right now I’ve got the exact same career as Benedict Cumberbatch.”
Donations can be made at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/masks4nhsheroes