Vietnamese children donate 20,000 face masks to UK after saving up ‘lucky money’

‘Your gift is really meaningful to doctors, nurses and healthcare workers in the UK’, says British ambassador to Vietnam

Harry Cockburn
Friday 24 April 2020 19:28 BST
Matt Hancock says government cannot promise to provide free face masks to public

Amid the UK’s dire shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, two children in Vietnamese capital Hanoi have apparently funded a gift of 20,000 facemasks which have been sent to Britain.

Truong Thi Linh Nhan and Truong Cao Khoi used their “lucky money” saved over several years to donate the masks to help the UK tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The masks were sent successfully by the British embassy in Hanoi last week on a commercial flight which also repatriated 100 British nationals.

The embassy tweeted a letter from Gareth Ward, British ambassador to Vietnam, alongside a picture of Nhan and Khoi near Tower Bridge in London.

He wrote: “I am glad that you, who are at very young ages, care about the world and have contributed to the fight against the virus.

“I believe that your gift is really meaningful to doctors, nurses and healthcare workers in the UK, who are working around the clock to fight against the virus and save people’s lives.”

Lucky money is a Vietnamese tradition in which children are given money in a red envelope to mark the lunar new year. It is a symbol of health, peace and happiness.

The embassy said the children had been saving their money up for a few years and had chosen to spend it on masks for medical staff.

Mr Ward thanked the children for making him feel “hopeful about the future”.

He said: “If everyone plays a part in this fight, I believe that we can overcome this pandemic.”

“These masks have been sent to [Britain] successfully on our special commercial flight last week. Many thanks Nhan & Khoi!”

Many people responding to the tweet noted how bad the situation has become in Britain – the country with the sixth largest economy in the world – to inspire the charity of children in Vietnam.

The Independent has contacted the UK government for comment.

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