A MALDON hamper business celebrated the NHS’s 70th birthday by presenting Broomfield Hospital with 70 hampers from 70 Essex businesses.

Secret Hamper, founded by Nigel Richardson, loaded up a van and handed out the huge number of hampers to various wards of the Chelmsford hospital on Monday.

Mr Richardson began his campaign last month to get 70 businesses in Essex to pledge a hamper to the hospital.

Businesses included Countryside Homes, CH Accountancy, bi-monthly magazine Emporium, Edgewood Vets Group and Shaken Udder.

Mr Richardson and his family were joined by hospital trust executives, Countryside Homes representatives and Chelmsford mayor Yvonne Spence at Broomfield on Monday.

Hampers were given to various wards as well as the air ambulance teams on the hospital’s own helicopter landing pad.

Mr Richardson said: “It’s been exhausting having to stress and worry about how the hampers will be prepared in time, how they’ll be received and packing them, but it was honestly overwhelming.

“It’s really caused a stir within the hospital, the next day I had emails from the wards to say how much joy the hampers had brought the staff and how grateful they were, I was almost tearing up.

“I spent all of the weekend, one of the hottest of the year, inside packing up hampers, I was a hermit.

“This is the kind of thing I want people to wake up and read on the news in the morning, you look these days and the morning news has people talking about Brexit over and over; people need some good news to inspire them.”

Despite pulling off the huge donation, Mr Richardson has no plans to slow down, with the idea of donating hampers to 70 hospitals across the country.

He added: “This began with me posting the idea on social media, and it ended up snowballing and becoming a reality. Hopefully now we have this donation to show it can be done, we can do the same for more hospitals.

“I have my eye on Great Ormond Street next, I’ll need to take a moment to breathe and think, but it’s something I’d love to aim for.”