A Catch Up with Thomas and Jane Kelly

TT INTERVIEW

Dom_Roman

Dom Roman – @DomRoman

As we try to move on from lockdown and back to some normality, the work of COVID clinics is crucial. This involves the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history and the fastest in Europe. The number of vaccines being administered has been nothing short of unbelievable and once again reinforces the huge pride we should have in the NHS, who deserve so much credit for all that they do. plus all those volunteers who have helped make this possible.

I am proud that one of our contributors Thomas Kelly has been amongst those volunteers, along with his mum Jane. I caught up with both to discuss the clinics, having the vaccine, the last year and a little football…

Hi there, so what’s your normal profession when you’re not helping with COVID clinics?

J: I am Clinical Nurse Lead at a GP Surgery in Sussex.

T: Hi Dom. I am Airline Cabin Crew based out of London Gatwick Airport and have been for almost 5 years now, although right now flying time has been “sparse” to say the least!

What affect has COVID had on your jobs over the last year?

J: Made it busier!! Combining the clinics with home visits and doing my normal hours but it’s so worthwhile.

T: Aviation has taken a huge hit during the pandemic and naturally that has caused a lot of stress during the first lockdown. It wasn’t a big surprise to me that flying ceased when it did because Covid really spread quickly from March onwards at an alarming rate. Since then I’ve been furloughed, survived a redundancy process, brought back to work and am now on flexible furlough. Fingers crossed things are soon safe enough for holidays to resume and my flying schedule begins to get busier again. I miss working at 36,000ft.

What made you want to help out at the clinics?

J: To help all my patients, many of whom are elderly. It’s wonderful how all the community has come together.

T: My mum & sister both work in the NHS and have continued to work through the entire pandemic. I know how hard they work and how tiring it is for them now and to any NHS worker out there reading this, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. 

They inspire me to want to play my part and as soon as I heard that the surgery where my mum works were going to be one of the first in the local area to begin covid vaccination clinics, I knew I wanted to jump right in and offer my services. The airline I work for heavily encourages us to assist in any shape or form for the NHS whilst we aren’t flying due to our first aid and customer service skills so for me, it was a no-brainer.

Did you have to undergo training and what did that entail?

J: As I am a Registered Nurse , just my usual annual vaccination training and e-learning for Covid vaccines.

T: I had to complete some e-learning courses regarding the new vaccines, plus some admin information that I am already taught in my annual training, but this time in a NHS environment. Nothing too taxing really.

What have you been doing at the clinics and how rewarding has it been to be involved? 

J: I have been drawing up vaccines, we have done over 16,000 so no wonder my arm aches!!! It is just so rewarding, we have been made community champions which is lovely as it comes from people we are vaccinating. They are so grateful and it’s such a happy environment.

T: I am used in an administrative role. I do anything from calling patients to book their appointments to inputting their information on a computer just prior to them being vaccinated to ensure all their details are correct. There is a lot of interaction with people which suits me being crew as I’m used to interacting with so many different people normally in my flying duties anyway.

It’s an important job especially when it comes to people getting their second doses, as there is certain criteria you have to ensure is followed before they receive the vaccine. I’m so lucky to work with such an amazing team (including quite a few cabin crew from other airlines) who have welcomed me as one of their own which has made the job so rewarding. I think as of Good Friday over 16,000 vaccinations have been done which is amazing considering we are in-between two mass vaccination sites. 

The positive feedback from those being vaccinated gives you the motivation on those long busy days to keep going and keep up the good work.

How’s the experience been doing it alongside each other?

J: Great!!! I love working with Tom. I’m so proud of him. Everyone loves him!!! We have quite a few cabin crew working in the clinics, they are wonderful.

T: It’s been lovely. My mum has been through a lot over the last year and it’s great to be able to see her so happy at a workplace that truly value her. There’s a lot of banter between us and we seem to work well, especially when it comes to working out how many vaccines need to be drawn up before the end of the day so none go to waste. Most of the time my mum is drawing up the vaccines and I am on a vaccine station or checking in patients, so we do get our time away from each other for a little bit!! 

I’m grateful she was able to put a good word about me to the surgery leaders to allow me the opportunity to help out and whilst I hope soon to be able to go back to the job I love, I look forward to the future clinics coming up and being able to play my small part in the mass vaccine rollout.

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How do you think you’ve coped with the last year and what’s been your worst and best experiences from it all?

J: I think I’ve coped well, it’s not been easy. My worst experience was when my Mum got covid. I was so worried, but luckily she beat it and is well now. Best?? Doing the clinics and working with Tom. Also getting my Torquay fix twice a week, I hope they keep the streaming going once things get back to normal. It’s great for us exile fans!

T: It’s been difficult Dom. I think I am a stronger person this year than I was last year.

For those who don’t know my partner currently lives in the USA and the day I was due to see him in March 2020 was the day the UK was added to the travel ban list. It took a while to get over it to be honest and to date I haven’t been able to see him in person since Oct 2019.. With every vaccine administered I hope that sooner rather than later I can be reunited with him. I miss him so much.

Prior to the furlough scheme being announced there was also the worry about how the lack of flying would affect my finances and job security over the coming months. I tried to stay positive but it was always on my mind initially.

I know I have been very lucky in respect to the health and safety of my family and friends compared to so many others during this pandemic, that the things that I lost that I enjoyed the most such as flying, travelling and football fall into insignificance really. I still have my job, the health of myself, my husband, family & my friends and that’s the best thing to come from this pandemic for me so far.

The worst moment though was when we found out my grandma caught covid a few weeks before Christmas and that was tough on all of us as a family. That was probably the lowest point for us all during the pandemic but thankfully she recovered and is back fighting fit again. She’s made of stern stuff that lady!

Have you had the vaccine and how was the experience?

J: I’ve had 2 vaccines, both Pfizer. My arm ached for a bit but had a temperature and felt ill for 24-48 hrs after the second one but I still worked!!! Plus I gave Tom his!!!!

T: Yes I have had both doses of Pfizer which apart from a sore arm and a headache the next day, it only lasted about 24 hours and I felt fine again the next day. Mum gave me one of them and I didn’t feel a thing!

And finally, we must mention football! How much are you looking to finally getting back to Plainmoor?

J: Can’t wait!!! I love the stream but nothing compares to being there and hearing “children“ play, makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!! 

T: I can’t wait to return again and hopefully it won’t be much longer until supporters can get back into football stadiums. I have benefited hugely from the streams as I normally only could get to a handful of games a season, so it’s been nice to be able to watch games live & be support the team from the comforts of home rather than rely on the radio.

It’s never the same as being at Plainmoor live, but it’ll do for now. I’m sure you’re glad from a Torquay Talk perspective!!

You know how much I enjoyed being back at Plainmoor again when we beat Wrexham 3-1 in early December. The smile I had under the mask as I walked up the stairs leading into the Popside was almost as wide as the length of the pitch! It was different for sure but it felt wonderful to be back at Plainmoor watching football in person and catching up with friends (at a distance) again. I hope to be sharing a pint with you again soon!

Well done to both of you and thank you for your efforts. Dom


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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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