CRUISE ships bosses have raised an incredible £100,000 to help health and care services since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

ROL Cruise, based in Lexden, set themselves the ambitious target with directors and staff deciding they wanted to support local services.

The cash has been boosted by donating £25 from each and every booking made into the fund.

Amongst the organisations set to be benefit from the car are Colchester Hospital, Clacton and Harwich Community Hospitals, district nursing and therapy services, mental health services, voluntary groups, St Helena Hospice, GPs and primary care, care homes and the East of England Ambulance Service.

ROL Cruise managing director Sarah Wikevand presented a cheque to NHS representatives at their office.

She said she was delighted to make the gesture.

“We are so proud to have been able to raise more than £100,000 for the NHS and care partnerships, and are delighted to hear the difference it will make across such a wide spectrum of services that are supporting people living with the impact of coronavirus," she said.

"The NHS staff and volunteers are doing such amazing work in caring for Covid-19 patients and their families and we are very thankful that we have been able to show our support.

"I would also like to extend our thanks to our cruising customers whose support has enabled us to reach the fundraising target so quickly.”

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the clinical commissioning groups across north east Essex, described the generosity as a wonderful show of support.

He added: “This is a huge donation and we are all extremely grateful to ROL Cruise, its staff and its customers.

"It will strongly recognise all of our colleagues who have worked tirelessly to respond to this outbreak not just in the NHS, but also in care home settings and voluntary sector partners.

"The kind generosity will help us as a system to support the recovery process to help ensure the people we serve are able to access the care and support they need.”

Colchester Hospital boss Nick Hulme added: "The hospital is only one part of the local health and care system.

"I am particularly pleased that this donation recognises the contribution that all local services continue to make to the health and wellbeing of our local communities.”

Susannah Howard, programme director for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System said “The quality of collaboration between partners in the North East Essex Alliance has been exceptional over recent months. I am pleased that this donation will help the Alliance to build on their work during the pandemic to the benefit of local patients, staff and communities.”

Essex County Council's health boss John Spence said: "Caring is carried out with love, compassion, and good neighbourliness which can often be unrecognised by the community.

"With this kind donation the staff of ROL Cruise have demonstrated to all carers in Essex that their efforts are valued and visible.

"The generosity of Essex businesses through this crisis on a range of issues has been striking and is deeply appreciated.”