A campaign to take the NHS to the top of the UK singles chart this Christmas has captured the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of people.
Katie Rogerson, a children’s doctor from Roundhay, has helped to launch a charity single by the NHS Choir in a bid to take the festive top spot that is among the bookies’ favourites.
The 36-year-old sings with the group of around 30 nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, porters and administrators from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in London where she works.
More than 200,000 people have pledged to buy the single from today after a Facebook campaign set up by Dr Rogerson and colleagues Harriet Nerva and Joe Blunden went viral and amassed millions of shares and likes.
The NHS Choir, originally made famous by TV choirmaster Gareth Malone in 2012, have released their single ‘A Bridge Over You’, combining Simon and Garfunkel and Coldplay hits.
It will compete with X Factor winner Louisa Johnson, the Star Wars theme, Stormzy, Justin Bieber and One Direction for the coveted top spot which will be revealed on BBC Radio 1 on Christmas Day.
Dr Rogerson, a former Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College pupil, said: “These are difficult times and morale is really low within the NHS and it’s palpable. It’s a challenging time for staff and for patients as well.
“This is a feel-good thing to make people realise they appreciate the NHS and realise they have some ownership of it.”
She is one of the choir members to set up the ‘NHS For Christmas No.1’ Facebook page, which has since spawned a website - nhsno1.com - and the #LoveYourNHS selfie campaign that has been backed by thousands including actor Michael Sheen and several MPs.
All proceeds from the song will be shared between Carers UK and Mind (including Mind’s sister charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland), and smaller charities in the New Year.
Dr Rogerson explained that the response has been both “incredible” and “heartening”, with both patients and staff coming together in support of the NHS.
She said: “It’s a time when staff and patients need to talk to each other and say why each are important and that’s what they are doing.”
Nevertheless her hectic life as a singer, music promoter and campaign coorganiser means she is excited for festivities at home in Leeds.
She added: “I’m just really looking forward to Christmas now - I’ve got sympathy with Simon Cowell after all this.”
The song is available on iTunes for 99p. Visit itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/lewisham-greenwich-nhs-choir/id771004174.