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Harriet Nerva

A former JFS pupil is spearheading the campaign that could see an NHS choir beat Justin Bieber to the coveted Christmas number one.

Harriet Nerva, a junior doctor at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridge, started the campaign with two others as a celebration of the NHS’ work despite not knowing any of the staff involved in the single Bridge Over You.

But this week she was touring radio studios with the doctors, nurses, physios that make up the Lewisham and Greenwich choir after a Facebook group promoting the charity single garnered more than 183,000 supporters. It was narrowly ahead of Bieber’s Love Yourself on combined sales and streams on Monday in the race for the top spot, with Stormzy’s Shut Up also making ground.

Nerva, 26, told the Jewish News: “I heard the song after a very hard day at work when a patient I had been looking after for a while passed away – and it brought back to me how proud I am to work for the NHS. I thought getting the song to number one would be a fantastic celebration of the NHS and a big morale booster as morale is low at the moment.”

She contacted Dr Katie Rogerson and NHS communications manager Joe Blunden who had both been involved in the campaign when the track came out first in 2013. “We started the campaign back in late October,” recalled the Belsize Square Synagogue member. “It has been mainly circulated through social media and we have been very touched by all the messages of support and people sharing their NHS stories.”

Proceeds from the song – a mash-up of Coldplay’s Fix You and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water – will go to Carers UK and Mind. High-profile supporters include Stephen Fry, James Corden, Labour Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Luciana Berger and Chris Evans, whose Radio 2 breakfast show the choir performed on this week.

Nerva said: “We think the NHS needs the Xmas number one more than Justin Bieber.”