Oxleas own Olympic heroes

News: Oxleas own Olympic heroes - 1) Clare Hatfull
Clare Hatfull
News: Oxleas own Olympic heroes - 2) Alison Bonner
Alison Bonner
News: Oxleas own Olympic heroes - 3) Holly Laws and Chris Pagden
Holly Laws and Chris Pagden

The trust's own Olympic heroes have been giving up their time and skills to make the Olympic Games run smoothly.

There's one Oxleas Forensic Mental Health Nurse Practitioner based at Rochester prison who is hoping Team GB notch up a hatful of medals during the Games - Clare Hatfull.

She is presently working as a volunteer Olympic Games maker at the Basketball arena, close to the Velodrome at the Olympic  Park in East London. Clare, who works mainly at HMP Rochester and also at the nearby women's facility HMP Sutton Park, has taken annual leave to take part in the once in a lifetime event.

Clare said: "I am working on the medical team in the basketball arena and I am so excited to be involved. I had my first interview last May. I hadn't intended to be part of any medical team and was quite happy to do anything, however, because of my background they directed me toward the medical team. I am a first responder and we work under a doctor who is our team leader.

"I am really excited about being at the Olympics. It really is an honour to be involved - only 70,000 volunteers have been chosen out of half a million applicants. I am very proud."

A 14 year veteran at HMP Rochester, Clare is planning to retire in a couple of years.  She wants to run her own business and open a nursery. She said: "I am a big gardener  and I have two allotments. I sell some of what I grow to raise money for charity, the latest being Help for Heroes."

Another Games maker is Bracken House based, ICT Project Coordinator, Alison Bonner. She is scheduled to do a total of 11 shifts at the Olympic Park. Last week she said: "I've done two shifts so far, with nine more to go, and it's been a really positive experience. I'm part of the venue entry team; our team welcomes people, directs them through the queues and then through the whole security process, which is the same as airport style security.

"So far all the visitors I have seen have been lovely, very enthusiastic and more than happy to queue, British style! I've chatted to people while travelling to and from the Olympic Park - mainly due to the distinctive red and purple uniform - and everyone has been very complimentary about the whole London 2012 experience.

"One American I spoke to yesterday said that he has been to 15 summer and winter Olympic Games and this one has been the best organised, with the most well informed and helpful staff and volunteers. I'm really proud that the Olympics is being held here and I wanted to be part of the whole experience - it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wasn't lucky enough to get any tickets, but at least this way I can be part of it all.”

Colleagues Holly Laws and Chris Pagden work together for the MSK ICAT 
(Musculoskeletal integrated clinical assessment and treatment) service covering the Olympic Royal Borough of Greenwich. Based at Manor Brook Medical Centre in Brook Lane, Blackheath, the two physiotherapists have both volunteered as Games makers.

Holly, Lead Extended Scope Practitioner for the service who has been with the trust for only five weeks, made her medical skills available during the Opening Ceremony, helping to look after cast members.  She said: “The Opening Ceremony was absolutely fantastic, the atmosphere inside the stadium was electric it made some people cry it was so emotional. I even got to hold the Olympic flame in its lantern, this was not planned it just happened. I’ll be at rehearsals for the Closing Ceremony on Saturday.”

Holly also had the chance to meet Danny Boyle, the filmmaker who devised the Opening Ceremony.

Specialist MSK Physio Chris Pagden is a volunteer physio in the Aquatic Centre and is scheduled to do eight shifts over the Games.  He said: “I have been treating athletes from countries that don’t have medical support.  I’ve helped swimmers from Romania, Papa New Guinea and Mali.”

Published on 7th August 2012