Biker Phil Boulter is Newbury Vaccination Centre's Volunteer of the Week
THIS week's Volunteer of the Week at the Newbury Vaccination Centre is Phil Boulter.
Mr Boulter has been voted by the lead volunteers for his contribution to the car parking team. They described him as a "real stalwart, nothing is too much trouble".
The lead volunteers added that Mr Boulter is "always helpful, constructive and looking to improve things and always with a sense of humour".
Mr Boulter, who is retired, has been working at the centre for about six or seven weeks.
He said: "I wanted something to do with my time and something that helps people."
He can be found in the car park working the early morning slots, as he explained: "I'm an early morning person anyway so happy to be here for eight o'clock and it means I get home in time for my lunch."
Mr Boulter has lived in Thatcham for the last 30 years and used to work for Kerridge Computers.
He said: "When I was with Kerridge they had a hot air balloon and I was one of the pilots, so that was how I got to know the area really – from the balloon basket."
Mr Boulter said he really enjoys the volunteering experience, particularly out in the car park: "I love the banter with everybody as they arrive at triage."
The triage area of the car park is where patients are directed to different parking areas when they arrive.
There are designated spots for disabled drivers and passengers, as well as drop off and pick up spots for people with mobility issues and the main parking area.
It is Mr Boulter's job, along with the other car park marshals working with him, to point people in the right direction.
Most recently he suggested a flashing hazard light system for the disabled drop off, which the volunteer leads said is a simple system and "works really well".
Mr Boulter said: "I feel a bit of a fraud, it was a joint suggestion really.
"When a car arrives and say they have a disabled person in the car, we get them to turn their hazard lights on, so that all the car park marshals know immediately and it saves a lot of messaging ahead and stopping and asking questions.
"It means we all know where they need to be directed."
He added: "It is genuinely just good fun and I always go home with a smile on my face – it's lovely.
"Generally, everybody is lovely and we have loads of jokes lined up for the patients as they arrive.
"For instance ,we sometimes say to them 'there's a 15-minute sit down after you have had your vaccine and the reason for that is to give us a chance to sell your car – if it's still here when you come out, you can take it home and if not you can pick another one'.
"We like to have a laugh with people and send them on their way always smiling and they seem to appreciate it."
Mr Boulter said that the thing he is most looking forward to when it is all over is people not having to wear masks: "It steams my glasses up and drives me mad.
"But seriously, if it is all over, it means there are a lot of healthy people about and we can all start getting out more and doing things normally."
Mr Boulter doesn't have a holiday lined up, but he is a keen motorbiker and said he plans to travel the entire south coast from Margate to Land's End with a friend when time allows.
He said: "The best thing will be when we get to Bournemouth, I can nip home for a couple of days rest before we carry on and finish the trip."