Newbury pub landlord and his partner are Vaccination Centre's Volunteers of the Week
PUB landlord Kevin Archibald and his partner Julia Ingram have been using their time in lockdown to help the community effort in getting everyone vaccinated.
Mr Archibald runs The Lion in West Street, Newbury, with his son, and Ms Ingram who is from Frankfurt, Germany, works part time at the pub and is also setting up her own business as a declutter coach.
The couple have been volunteering at the vaccination centre at Newbury Racecourse since early February and this week they have been nominated as the Volunteers of the Week.
The volunteer leads who decide the nominations said: "As ever it was a very hard choice as everyone is so brilliant, but Kevin and Julia are noted by the leads as always being very cheerful and reliable.
"Kevin always stays on at the end of the late shift and Julia is full of enthusiasm and nothing is too much trouble and on a busy shift last week she was doing two roles."
Kevin and Julia are currently preparing to reopen the pub on May 17 and so the leads thought this was a good opportunity to thank them for their efforts before they return to 'normal' life.
Mr Archibald said: "I run a pub and we couldn't open, so I went from working a 12 hour day to sitting on the sofa watching television. I needed something to do and saw the appeal for volunteers on social media."
He is usually found in the car park guiding patients and their drivers around the system. "It's just great fun," he said. "I really enjoy it and the way the whole operation is run is fantastic. I don't think Newbury would have got so many people vaccinated if all the surgeries hadn't come together in this way."
Mr Archibald said that being in the car park can sometimes be a bit hazardous with drivers not quite following instructions but, he said, he has learned very quickly when he needs to jump out of the way. "The biggest challenge is getting the first car parked right, once that's in the right place then the rest will follow – hopefully!" he added.
Ms Ingram said she has carried out practically all the roles inside the centre. She said: "Like Kevin, I was looking for something to do and this has been a great experience. I was a bit nervous at first, but once we had had our training it was fantastic and so well organised."
Ms Ingram, who trained as a declutter coach in Germany and is now setting up her own business – www.tidyupyourhome.com – said that just 'seeing people' was the best thing.
"It was amazing to see so many people gathered in one place. And it's really nice when you get a 'thank you' from the patients," she said.
Mr Archibald is looking forward to reopening the pub, but said they intend to continue their shifts at the vaccination centre.
He said: "Because I run the pub with my son, I can organise it with him and the afternoon shifts at the racecourse fit in well with pub hours."
Mr Archibald, who grew up in Newbury and worked as an engineer for Plentys before getting involved in hospitality added: "I'm a people person and I've loved volunteering, doing something different and outside my comfort zone. People think we are lucky because we live on the premises, but an empty pub is a pretty soulless place. I can't wait to see our customers back here again."