Head of vaccination programme is a Lockdown Hero

The woman at the helm of Bolton’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been awarded a coveted Lockdown Hero award.

Dr Helen Wall, the senior responsible officer for the programme, has won the awards’ Outstanding Contribution category for ‘embodying the spirit of Team Bolton, fighting Covid, keeping spirits high and showing inspirational leadership’.

Dr Wall received the accolade during an online awards ceremony held on Wednesday evening (March 31), organised by the Bolton News in association with Bolton Council.

Television’s Dr Hilary Jones hosted the ceremony and paid tribute to Dr Wall, along with many other deserving winners in categories including: Education Hero, Hospitality Hero, and Carer of the Year to name but a few.

Speaking about Dr Wall, he said: “You are a shining light. You’re setting an example.”

Presenting the award to Dr Wall was Tony Oakman, chief executive of Bolton Council, who said: “Helen has not only run a busy GP practice through the whole of the pandemic, but in more recent times she has led and organised the highly successful vaccination programme for the whole of Bolton.

“Throughout this, she has demonstrated a natural compassion for people. She’s never lost her sense of humour; her determination is first class and her commitment is a model to everyone. She’s everything about Team Bolton and she has clearly gone the extra mile.”

Dr Wall is a mum of three, a GP partner at Crompton Health Centre and clinical director of commissioning at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group. Towards the end of 2020, she also took on the challenging role of senior responsible officer for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Bolton and to date has overseen 130,000 first dose vaccinations and 10,000 second doses.

She said: “I was absolutely blown away to be nominated for this. I’ve been working many hours a week with my teams, just getting through the weeks, doing my job. I didn’t do any of that for an award, for recognition. I did it because it’s a thing that’s close to my heart.

“We’ve been working through Covid for 12 months now and it’s been tough. It’s been tough for everyone – all our loved ones and our colleagues. As soon as I got the chance to lead on the Covid vaccination programme for Bolton, which is my home town and a place which I’ll always hold dear to my heart, I knew I had to take that opportunity and do this for the people of Bolton and my colleagues; to get us out of this situation.”

Humbly accepting the award, Dr Wall added: “I think this award has to be dedicated to Team Bolton really. I grew up in Bolton and 30-odd years ago I sat on the elephants in the town centre, looking at the fountains and never imagining that we would be in a pandemic.

“But there’s absolutely no other place that I would have wanted to be in this pandemic. My colleagues and the people of Bolton have just helped me get through this and I’ve been privileged to lead the vaccination programme during this time. So – thank you!”

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