In an exclusive interview with HELLO! magazine, Mike Tindall has opened up about why the NHS means so much to him.
Mike has teamed up with artist Ben Mosley – Wembley Stadium's official artist in residence – to auction a specially created new artwork to raise money for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal and for The Cure Parkinson's Trust and the Matt Hampson Foundation – both of which Mike's annual golf day would have supported, had it taken place this year.
To bid in Mike’s charity auction, visit jumblebee.co.uk/thestadiumoflife
Singing the praises of the NHS, Mike says: "It has been amazing. It's hard to put into words what everyone within the NHS has done for the country in such a difficult time, so we felt really strongly that we should do something to help raise money for them to show our appreciation."
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And he knows firsthand how incredible the NHS have been when it comes to his father Philip, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2003. "The NHS and pharmacies where he lives have been fantastic about getting his medication to him and that's helped to reduce the impact of lockdown on his health but it's still hard. He and Mum miss the contact and human interaction with friends and family, and his only outdoor exercise is walking the dog once a day. It's very tough on the older and more vulnerable at the moment."
Artist Ben Mosley showing off the special work of art
In the interview, Mike also describes life on lockdown with wife Zara and their two daughters. The former England rugby union World Cup winner and the Olympic equestrian are self-isolating at their Gatcombe Park home with their daughters, Mia, six, and 23-month-old Lena, and the couple have recently completed the Run for Heroes 5K challenge to raise money for the NHS.
"Zara and I are really lucky as we have lots of space to run and walk. We also have a home gym so we spend time in there as keeping fit is really important to us both.
READ: Princess Anne has the most gorgeous wedding photo of Zara and Mike Tindall on display at home
"We always have a healthy competitive spirit in board and garden games, but in things like cycling and running we do things together."
He also opened up about the trials and tribulations of homeschooling. "We have good days and days where it feels harder," says Mike. "But we've all had to adjust to a new normal. In the morning we focus on the basics – Maths, English, reading and writing – and in the afternoon it's more about playtime, sports, and being outside.
"We live on a farm so there are lots of animals, including horses and dogs, that we look after. Mia's been riding since she was little and also likes riding her bike and playing ball. I’ve been trying to get her into golf but so far I’m not having a huge amount of luck.
"My overriding take-away is a whole new respect for teachers. I always knew they did a great job but this just brings it into sharp focus."
Mike has launched an online auction to raise money for the NHS, The Cure Parkinsons Trust and Matt Hampson Foundation. Please visit to bid: www.jumblebee.co.uk/thestadiumoflife