Burghclere couple are Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Centre's joint Volunteers of the Week
Lynne and Ivor 'are reliable, cheerful and full of ideas'
THIS week we are celebrating not one, but two vaccine volunteers.
Lynne Clare and Ivor Graham have jointly been named as Newbury Vaccination Centre’s Volunteer of the Week. The retired couple have lived in Burghclere for more than 17 years and were really pleased for the opportunity to volunteer at the centre.
Ms Clare said: “It is immensely satisfying to be doing something concrete in the fight against the virus. We are also pleased to be part of a locally-run initiative helping people from the West Berks area.”
Mr Graham is head marshal in the car park and Ms Clare has worked tirelessly in almost every other role. They have done a shift on most days that the vaccination centre has been open.
Each week the lead volunteers discuss who, among the army of volunteers, should be awarded the Volunteer of the Week and this week chose Mr Graham and Ms Clare, because “both have been there from the start – they are reliable, cheerful and full of ideas”.
Ms Clare said: “We are deployed doing pretty much any of the jobs that do not require medical experience, leaving the professionals free to do the all-important vaccinations.
“If you think we looked like we were sometimes channelling Michelin man it’s because we have to come dressed for any duty – ski thermals were re-purposed to keep us warm. We are both looking forward to the warmer weather.”
Mr Graham added: “Between us we’ve done many of the volunteer roles and our overriding feeling is how efficient it all is and how happy people are to be vaccinated.
“Tweaks in the process after each shift means that all learnings are soon implemented to improve the experience for those being vaccinated. Regular updates are uploaded to the centre’s Facebook page.”
The volunteer leads voted for Mr Graham because “his jolly approach in rain, snow or shine helps ensure those arriving feel comfortable”. And Ms Clare got their vote because she has done many different roles.
Ms Clare said: “It’s fascinating to be part of the team handling so many patients so smoothly and it is also gratifying knowing that we’re doing something useful.
“The donations of treats for the staff and volunteers are overwhelming and very welcome, particularly when it’s cold, dark and wet out there.
“I don’t mind what I do, but if you’re on the surgery desk it’s lovely getting the chance to speak to everyone when they come in for their jab.”
Ms Clare also praised the volunteer leaders and the whole team: “The atmosphere is so upbeat and the sense of a team all working together is phenomenal. The leaders are very welcoming of ideas, because we are all learning as we go along, and you’ll quite often notice that small tweaks have been made on the next shift.”
The couple said that like everyone else their lives have changed significantly in the last year.
“Normally we would be getting in as much skiing as possible now and Ivor would be playing golf at Newbury & Crookham where he is treasurer,” Ms Clare added.
“We both miss live theatre and gigs, but Lynne does Zoom yoga and we hope to be able to see our children and grandchildren soon,” said Mr Graham.