A FORMER greenkeeper has put his skills to good use to pay tribute to the NHS.

John Wilkinson, who lives on Eastwoods Road in West Wylam, mowed the letters NHS into the grass, before dying them blue.

He created the eye-catching tribute after a close friend contracted Covid-19.

John said he felt like he had to do something to show his support for the health service during the coronavirus pandemic.

He continued: “One of my good friends had coronavirus and it really hit me hard - plus my wife works in a care home.

“He’s one of my best friends. I thought ‘what can I do?’

“He came through but it was touch and go. The ambulance came out.

“I was in tears when he rang me. He’s just a young lad, I was devastated.

"I sent him the picture and he said it made him laugh.

“It’s just nice to do something. I can’t raise money, but I thought I had to do something.

“The neighbours are over the moon. We stand around it, two metres apart, and clap for the NHS and carers on a Thursday night.”

John, who has worked as a greenkeeper, explained how wrote the letters into the grass.

He said: “It’s like a whitewash, then I just put colouring in, like a food colouring in to mix it up.

“Originally I just cut it into the lawn, I do some greenkeeping. Then one of my neighbours said it would be nice to paint it.

“The weather has turned a bit now, so it’s already starting to fade - but it looked great.”