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'Dynamite' Tara is Newbury Vaccination Centre's Volunteer of the Week

AN UPPER Lambourn volunteer has been nominated as the Newbury Vaccination Centre's Volunteer of the Week, as vaccinations pass the 45,000 mark.

Volunteer of the week Tara Williams
Volunteer of the week Tara Williams

The volunteer leads decided that welfare volunteer Tara Williams should get the accolade this week, with comments about her ranging from "real dynamite" to "nothing is too much trouble".

The leads said that Mrs Williams is "always smiling" and "constantly busy looking after everyone else", she "never complains" and "puts in a shift and a half".

At one of the shifts last weekend, Mrs Williams even summoned her husband to the centre with spare coffee cups when they ran out.

Mrs Williams, who lives in Upper Lambourn with her husband and two sons, said she should be in New York and Hong Kong at the moment.

She said: "I run an art gallery in London and we take exhibitions all around the world and I was scheduled to be in the United States and Hong Kong right now."

The gallery had to shut at the beginning of the first lockdown and Mrs Williams has not been able to work there since.

"I will admit I was quite tearful when the first lockdown was announced," she added. "We finished an exhibition on the Sunday and two days later everything was shut down. I didn't realise then that I wouldn't be working for the next 16 months."

She has used her time at home to help with the Lambourn volunteer drivers and also signed up to volunteer at the vaccination centre.

She is usually found with a blue hi-viz jacket, working as a welfare officer, making tea and giving other volunteers a break when they need to get inside to warm up or just have a rest.

"I love it," she said. "It's amazing and inspiring. The sense of camaraderie is incredible with everyone pulling together towards the goal of getting it done."

Mrs Williams said she also enjoys the opportunity of talking to the patients. "It really has been an eye-opener and on occasions very humbling," she added. "The other day I was talking to a 70-year-old gentleman who told me I was the first person he had spoken to for three days."

Mrs Williams said that during the lockdowns she has enjoyed having her family at home. She said: "One of my sons had Covid – but very mildly, he just lost his sense of taste and smell – otherwise we have been very lucky. Although the boys have eaten me out of house and home we have rediscovered board games and, with all the walking we have been doing, more of our lovely countryside in the last year than I had in the 20 years we have lived here.

"I will admit that I can't wait to get back to work, but if there is a legacy from this it is that I will continue as a volunteer driver for the surgery and I will never put anything off again.

"It has shown me that you really can't take things for granted and you really never know what tomorrow will bring."

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