NHS staff enjoyed a special afternoon tea in Ramsbottom to thank them for their incredible efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

The party was one of a number of events for key workers from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust as they marked Great Big Thank You Week.

Pennine Care provides mental health and learning disability services in Bury and several other Greater Manchester areas.

Across the seven days trust staff, including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, porters, administrators and cleaners; took time to reflect on and celebrate their hard work and achievements in the health service's most challenging year.

Evelyn Asante-Mensah, chairwoman at Pennine Care, said: “Saying thank you is such a small and simple gesture.

"With this in mind, we wanted to do something special to thank our staff; while acknowledging that it has been a difficult time.”

Highlights of the week included a personal thank you message to all staff from the Trust’s Board.

They also received a commemorative rainbow badge.

Another special thank you message was shared from Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh.

And an online thank you board generated hundreds of personal thank you messages for Pennine Care workers

Every member of staff additional received an extra day’s holiday.

To end the week, staff then joined in a moment of reflection on September 11, to pay tribute to those who have tragically lost their lives or been devastated by Covid-19.

Claire Molloy, chief executive at Pennine Care, said: “In the face of so many challenges and worries, the help and support our staff have given to patients, carers, families, our wider communities and colleagues is inspirational.

"Every single person has played a vital role in helping to keep essential services safely running.”

The coronvirus pandemic has been a period of unprecedented demand for Pennine Care, under the most challenging of circumstances.

Since March 526 new staff members have joined Pennine ­— 131 as a direct response to Covid.

The crisis further meant that 91 existing staff were redeployed to new role.

Collectively, trust staff filled 42,929 temporary shifts and made over 350 video and 10,500 phone appointments each week at the height of the pandemic.

An astonishing almost 1.8 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) were delivered across Trust sites.

And patients made 19,468 visits to the Trust’s website wellbeing pages.