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Hands to Covid Stations

Last week, we received a lovely email from Shipmate Lynne Fleming from our Liskeard Branch, which we’d like to share with you to highlight the invaluable contribution the serving Royal Navy are making to the Covid Vaccination programme…

“I recently attended Millennium House at Pensilva, Cornwall for my fist Covid vaccination. Little did I know, I would once again be in the safe hands of the Royal Navy. Safely guided from car park to the socially distanced waiting area by masked civilians, I realised that each booth I could see was manned by Royal Navy personnel. Two members of the Royal Navy; one to check, assess and consent, the other to actually carry out the vaccination and clean the patient space before and after each incumbent.

Once called forward and seated, the interviewer introduced herself as Helen Evans GP and to my shame I missed the name of the rating who was busy preparing the syringe. Answering all her questions, I received the necessary advice and jab and thanked them both, saying how good it was to see the RN involved.

I mentioned that my husband was a mentor at Raleigh and the rating asked which division. "Fisher" I eventually stumbled (it has been a whole year since last involved). He told me he'd been in Cornwell and that they had two brilliant Falklands veterans. Proving once again the value of mentorship as he'd clearly valued their input and support.

Before being guided to the assigned rest area to ensure I didn't suffer anaphylaxis, I thanked them both wishing them well in their Royal Navy careers. Arriving home, I decided to look up Helen Evans GP RN as I had no idea that there was such a role. Via LinkedIn, I learned she joined the Royal Navy in February 2004, therefore having served for 17 years. She studied at Cardiff between 1998 and 2004 gaining the following:

    MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Merit

    BSc Medical Biochemistry 1st

So, an extremely bright lady. I was impressed.

I went on to find more information and came across a "Navy News" article from January 2004. A photograph of her inspecting Signal Flags at a Trafalgar Night celebration in Kabul.

It was Helen's idea to recruit a local tailor to make up a set of "England Expects" signal flags.

Although initially difficult to get the tailor to understand he needed to use specific colours, not any old material, "he flew into a fit of cutting, sewing and applying eyelets" completing the task with "barely an hour to spare before the dinner started."

It was an honour to have met her, even if I didn't realise at the time how amazing an example of a Royal Navy Officer she is. It was also very cheering, in these dark times to have shared a laugh with the nameless rating. In his Scottish lilt he told me he had been at home on leave at Christmas and his family were taking bets on how soon he would be called upon to help out in the pandemic. I'm so glad that he was. He was, as so many are, a lovely, open, friendly guy, a credit to the Royal Navy.

Thank you, Royal Navy, for protecting us."

Shipmate Lynne Fleming, RNA Liskeard Branch