The 23rd of March 2021 marks a year to the day since the UK first entered lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has had painful consequences for many, but it will be also remembered for the heroism of our frontline NHS staff who we, as a charity, are proud to have supported thanks to the generosity and dedication of our supporters.

To mark the day of reflection on 23rd March, we are delighted to be partnering with BBC Radio Sheffield to thank some of our most incredible supporters – people who have gone above and beyond to do their bit for our hospitals over the past twelve months:

Alana Habergham-Rice

Alana, who is 13 and has autism, has been baking cakes for 7 years. Each of her cakes are given to deserving local residents who have been nominated because they are going through tough times. Alana uses her ‘caring cakes’ to cheer them up and spread her own joy.

Lockdown and COVID-19 prevented Alana from baking and delivering her cakes, but she was determined not to let that stop her. She, along with her family, are dedicated to raising funds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity and support their local hospitals, all because a close family friend, Nick Challenger was treated at the Royal Hallamshire in his recent battle with Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Last year, Alana released her first ever cook book featuring recipes for her 'caring cakes', as well as some recipes from VIP friends. Profits raised from the sale of the book go directly to Sheffield Hospitals Charity and she has already been blown away by the number of people wanting a copy.

She has also successfully campaigned to install a 'friendly bench' – a facility to help reduce social isolation and improve community cohesion – in Kiverton Park. And if that wasn't enough, Alana also hosts a regular local radio show to help spread positivity. Alana is a true Sheffield superstar!

Xander Dring

Xander, 7, was inspired by the late Captain Sir Tom Moore and his fundraising efforts for the NHS. Earlier this year, he decided that he wanted to do something to emulate his hero and raise money for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Since the beginning of February, Xander rode 30 miles of his scooter around the streets of Dore.

He battled the elements and was not disheartened by the freezing cold or the rain in his determination to see the job through.

To date, Xander has raised more than £500 for Sheffield Hospitals Charity and that money will make an enormous difference to staff and patients at local hospitals.

Joel Kiernan

Joel, 22, is a student at the University of Sheffield. Last year, after a serious accident, his life was left in the hands of surgeons at the Northern General Hospital.

Not only did those surgeons save his life, they left him with a determination to give something back – and he did just that.

Last summer, Joel took on the 'Everest in England' challenge to raise money for Sheffield Hospitals Charity -  a challenge which saw him climb 29,000 feet (the same height at Everest) in 12 days across various different English peaks.

Starting with Brea Hill in Cornwall and finishing off with Scafell Pike, Joel completed the challenge and raised an incredible £3,000 for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Alana, Xander and Joel were all featured on BBC Radio Sheffield this morning (listen here, starting at 08:12), where they were thanked for their dedication by presenter Becky Measures and Gareth Aston, Chief Executive Officer at Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Speaking after the show, Gareth said: “It was a privilege to be able to thank these young supporters. We have all be affected by the pandemic and we have all heard and read so much about the heart-breaking consequences it has had. But through all of that there are so many stories of positivity.

“Alana, Xander and Joel have gone above and beyond to support local hospitals and their staff. They truly are heroes and we thank them for their work.”