Banquet Records in Kingston sparked an outpouring of striking selfies from NHS workers in the region after offering to support them with free in-store vouchers.

Dozens of nurses, doctors and other frontline healthcare workers with the NHS took pictures of themselves in full PPE gear and posted them underneath a thread started by the stalwart community record store earlier this week, who handed out £10 vouchers to every healthcare worker who responded.

It was launched amid an ongoing clash between healthcare professionals in the NHS and the Conservative government, who were criticised for offering NHS staff just a one per cent pay rise in the latest budget despite their efforts and sacrifices over the last year.

Banquet's Owner Jon Tolley told the Surrey Comet he simply wanted to help out the people who continue to look after us during such a tough time.

"I wanted it to be a chance for people to get praise from other people that they don't know. It's taking the time to do something nice," he said.

"We had a lot of people get in touch to offer to buy vouchers so that we were not out of pocket too," Jon added, indicating the outpouring of goodwill that arrived with the Twitter thread.

"For whatever reason, healthcare workers are feeling under-appreciated and the drive behind it was really to say: this little record shop appreciates you, but also, so do all of our customers too."

Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, a GP in Kingston who has treated Covid patients and helped set up and run the vaccination centre at Kingston University, was one of the NHS workers to post his selfie on the Banquet Records thread.

Surrey Comet: Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, a GP in Kingston. Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, a GP in Kingston.

He thanked Banquet for their support and said more needed to be done by the government to support NHS workers.

"The announcement of a proposed one per cent pay rise is a real kick in the teeth for all kinds of professionals and workers in the NHS.

"My colleagues who work in the hospitals in dreadful circumstances, watching patients suffer day in and day out, for months and months.

"It disproportionately affects women, it disproportionately affects international workers in the service," Richard pointed out.

"For an organization like Banquet to pick up on this really gives a sense of hope that 'yes, there are people out there who feel that there should be some equity and support for people who've tried their hardest'.

"I think we've all got to push back on this and make sure there is appropriate support for these kind of people and that they feel valued.

"That's what Banquet is doing, showing people that they are valued and that, even if the government aren't interested, organizations like them do care," he added.

Another of the NHS workers to respond to the thread was Erin, a 22-year-old student nurse who was drafted into the Covid wards despite being part-way through her degree.

"When the pandemic hit, I was just trying to get through my final 6 months of university.

"Going from normal deadlines and plans to do a 12 week unpaid nursing placement before graduating, to being told that they need student nurses in their final 6 months to work on the front line," she said.

"By June 2020, I had watched my patients have negative tests, then positive tests, and then eventually die from respiratory failure.

"I've had days where I've cried at work, behind my mask and goggles, luckily people can't easily see past all the PPE. I knew that being a nurse was hard work, but qualifying straight into the middle of a global pandemic, literally diving into the deep end, has been more draining and difficult than I could ever have imagined.

"We do it all, because we care. I just wish we could see that the government cares as much as we do," Erin added.