Summers family are Newbury Vaccination Centre's Volunteers of the Week
'Nothing is ever too much trouble for any of them'
NEWBURY Vaccination Centre has nominated three people for the Volunteer of the Week accolade – and they are all from the same family.
Jon Summers has been a volunteer at the centre from day one, marshalling in the car park, and more recently his wife Kathy and their daughter Charlotte, 24, decided they too wanted to do their bit.
Mr Summers said: “I volunteered with our local responders, hoping to help out neighbours and people who might need things fetching and carrying, but didn’t feel I was really doing enough, so when I heard about the centre on social media I immediately signed up.”
Mr Summers is a retired technical director who designed and developed products for various communications companies.
He has spent most of his shifts marshalling in the car park and the volunteer lead team commented that Mr Summers “can be seen out in the car park in all weathers test running the complete set of waterproof clothing that he bought when he started”.
“Things are much easier now that the warmer weather has arrived,” he added.
“Brushing the snow off my trousers on the way home one evening when the wind chill temperature made it feel like it was -9ºC, will be a long-lasting memory.”
When patients started to arrive for their vaccines, among them was Mr Summers’ mother-in-law.
He said: “She was quite surprised when I greeted her in the car park and showed her the way into the centre, but I hope it was a nice surprise.”
Kathy Summers and their daughter Charlotte joined the volunteer team a little after Mr Summers.
Mrs Summers said: “Like most people I have been frustrated by the events of the last year and so by doing this it felt like I was actually helping to get back to ‘normal’.
“I love interacting with people anyway so I’m always happy to do whichever task is given to me – inside or outside.“
During the cold spell, Mrs Summers was on car park entrance duty and said it was enjoyable directing people in.
“Quite often people would say they were just coming to do a recce because they had their jab the next day so I would be waving them in and then waving them straight out again,” she said.
Charlotte went to St Bartholomew’s School in Newbury and is now a software engineer at Vodafone.
“Volunteering gets me out and away from the computer screen – if I’m not working I’m usually playing video games – what else is there to do?” she said.
“So getting out into the fresh air and meeting such a diverse range of people has been really interesting.”
Vodafone allows its employees to do five volunteering days a year, so Charlotte has broken hers down into 10 half days so she can do weekday shifts in addition to any weekend ones she is allocated.
The volunteer team nominated the Summers family, who have lived in Newtown for 25 years, for their dedication to volunteering.
“Kathy and Charlotte always have a smile on their faces and nothing is ever too much trouble for any of them,” the centre said.
“For one family to have given up so much of their time, the Volunteer Leads felt that this should be recognised.”
And the family are all looking forward to things returning to normal for different reasons.
Mrs Summers is desperate for a haircut – “I’ve only had one in the last 12 months!” – while Mr Summers and Charlotte want to meet up with friends again.
Charlotte said: “I’m really looking forward to going out to restaurants with friends and having a meal cooked by someone else.”
She also misses the day-to-day interaction with her work colleagues and is looking forward to getting back to Vodafone HQ.
She added “The katsu curry in the canteen is amazing – I really miss that!”