Thousands of volunteers step up as vaccine programme moves forward

  • ITV News Meridian reporter Mary Stanley has been meeting some of the volunteers across the south who've been giving their time to support the coronavirus vaccination effort.

Thousands have given their time to help get as many people through the process - with people stepping up to give out jabs, marshalling cars or even just providing a friendly face for those waiting.

Around 1,000 people a day are getting their vaccinations at centres in Portsmouth and Basingstoke - which NHS staff say couldn't happen without the help of the public.

Dr Tim Cooper, from Chineham Medical Practice, said: "You look at the number of people we want to vaccinate over quite a long period.

"It wouldn't be possible to do this with just our normal health staff."

  • Wendy Peters, retired GP

Wendy is a volunteer vaccinator, working at the centre hosted at St James Hospital in Portsmouth.

She cites a very personal reason for stepping up - the end of the pandemic would mean she could hold her baby granddaughter for the first time.

"She's bubbled up with the other grandmother," Wendy said.

"It would give me a chance to have a hug, I'm looking forward to that!"

She also hopes an end to restrictions will allow her to get back on her motorbike and carry on with her world travel plans.

"I hope we can get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible so we can get back to some sort of normal life."

  • Carol Bode, Magistrate and funeral celebrant

In Basingstoke, Carol Bode has joined the team as a marshal, directing vehicles in the car park.

That's despite also being a member of the Rotary club and the chairman of Basingstoke voluntary action.

She says the atmosphere among the team is "lovely"

"In mid December when we were having the very elderly coming through, Just the look of relief on people's faces was actually tremendous.

"It's really heartwarming to be here and it's a really really positive spirit. "

  • Hiro Fam, restaurant owner

Hiro had planned to open a second venue last year, but had to postpone his plans because of the pandemic.

He is still running a takeaway business, so he spends his evenings cooking and delivering while during the daytime he provides reassurance at the vaccination centre.

"Many of them have stayed at home for a long time, haven't had a chance to come out.," he says.

"Probably we are the first person they see after a long time in lockdown, so for me to say 'hi' to them and 'goodbye to them', all of this whole feeling that everyone is working together.

"It just feels really good."