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Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Project Manager Receives a Royal Invitation

A Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) Project Manager has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to supporting the vaccination rollout in Cambridgeshire.

John Barlow, who’s been with the Service for over 35 years, has been supporting the Covid-19 vaccination programme since January 2021.

In celebration of his efforts, John was invited by the Duchess of Cambridge on behalf of the Royal Foundation to attend a Christmas Carol Concert at Westminster Abbey. The event took place last month, and the invitation came following a nomination from CFRS to the National Fire Chiefs Council for his volunteering work with the NHS.

What initially began as helping-out at Peterborough City Care Centre, soon developed, and a few weeks later John was trained to be a vaccinator along with a number of other colleagues across CFRS. The training, which was led by the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance Service, involved a considerable amount of learning and assessments, but he quickly completed it, and in May began his first shift as a vaccinator.

Since he delivered his first vaccination, he has gone on to administer around 3000 vaccinations and booster jabs. Throughout the time, he’s volunteered at least once a week on his days off work. He’s been working alongside other volunteers and a range of medical staff from the NHS and armed forces.

Speaking of his experience he said: “It was an honour and privilege to attend the service and I felt quite humble, given what so many others had also contributed.”

Very different to his day job, John added, “Being face-to-face (or should I say mask to mask) is certainly different to sitting at a computer screen each working day and the fact that you are helping to protect the community is certainly worthwhile and personally fulfilling and the appreciation voiced by those being vaccinated is overwhelming.”

“It’s a really rewarding activity so I would encourage as many people to come forward and volunteer.”