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Aisling's 8-hour shift earns her Newbury Vaccination Centre's Volunteer of the Week

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'It’s about pitching in – that’s what we are here for after all'

NEWBURY Vaccination Centre volunteer of the week is Aisling Craik, because the team was so impressed with her “fantastic work, putting in a double shift” on Sunday, when the centre was particularly busy.

Anyone who had their vaccine at the racecourse last Sunday will know that there were more than the usual number of patients and fewer hours to get everyone through.

But Mrs Craik was one of the many volunteers that gave up their time to make sure the day went as smoothly as possible, staying on duty for the best part of eight hours.

She said: “I really don’t mind pitching in, like everyone I want to see this thing done and get everybody vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“However, after Sunday’s double stint my legs did ache a bit and I found myself waking up in the night and saying ‘which surgery are you with?’ and ‘can I take your temperature?’”

Mrs Craik recently moved to Newbury and lives in one of the flats overlooking the car park where the volunteers park their cars.

“When I saw the first few shifts happening, I was watching from my balcony and thought ‘what am I doing here? Nothing’, so I let my surgery – Strawberry Hill – know that I would like to help and within days I was on an induction course.”

Being so close to the centre Mrs Craik, who runs her own business Meadowrose Scientific at Calleva Park, Aldermaston, said she is happy to be on call any time because it is so easy for her to get there.

She said: “I’ll usually do weekend shifts or afternoon shifts and I have been called a few times to go and help out at the last minute when they’ve been short of numbers or need extra help.”

Mrs Craik was getting ready to retire to Cyprus with her partner when the pandemic started to gain a hold across the globe.

“Our business tests, qualifies and maintains equipment in research labs, universities and hospitals, so when the first lockdown was announced I had to get prepared for when everything reopened,” she added.

She came back to the UK and has been overseeing the business during the ups and downs of lockdown.

She said: “We have never been busier, but I am looking forward to going back to Cyprus later this year and winding down on the work front, although I will still be involved.”

She said she has enjoyed the team spirit of the volunteering and enjoys having something to do other than her work.

Mrs Craik said: “On a selfish level it gives me something else to think about. We need to get this done – I have a granddaughter who was born during the pandemic in Malaysia and I can’t wait to meet her.”

She sees her role as being on hand as and when she is needed.

“I don’t mind running down for an hour if only to give someone else a break,” she added. “It’s about pitching in – that’s what we are here for after all.”

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