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Claudette Neville


Claudette, a 74-year-old retired nurse who was a hospital director for the last decade of her working life, began volunteering in her village, Burwash, when the pandemic started, taking patients for GP and hospital appointments, and delivering prescriptions. She also started undertaking the same tasks over a wider area as an NHS volunteer with the Royal Voluntary Service.

Claudette applied to be a vaccinator in November last year but heard nothing back. Undaunted, when she heard that the Trust and GPs were setting up a vaccination centre in Etchingham, she applied again and was successful. She now combines her duties as secretary of Fairfield Patient Participation Group with her work as a volunteer co-ordinator at the centre.

“I like meeting people when so many of us are isolated at home, facilitating such a vital service, and working as part of a team and in a clinical environment,” she says.

Claudette has also arranged for a team of drivers to take patients from Burwash to Etchingham if they need a lift.

Having worked for, or been involved with, the NHS for 45 years, she is impressed that it “has been able to develop such an enormous new vaccination service for the whole adult population in under 12 months from the start of the pandemic”.

Asked how she feels about the future in the light of all that has happened during the past year, Claudette says she “remains very positive”.

“Generations have had to face up to crises over the centuries and humanity will do so again,” she says. “There are obviously things that could have been done better, but the whole world has had to deal with this and it's easy to see how things could have been done better in retrospect.”