A former badminton world champion is joining NHS key workers at a drive-in Covid-19 testing station.
Gail Emms, who also won silver in the 2004 Olympics, is carrying out swab tests at a centre in Milton Keynes.
The retired athlete began her first eight-hour shift with the team on Tuesday - after completing and passing an NHS training programme.
"I have no medical training but I'm fit and healthy - and I felt a deep sense of duty," she said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Monday that Covid-19 testing has been extended in England to anyone over the age of five who presents with symptoms, which now include loss of taste and smell.
It means more members of the public are queuing at regional test sites established across the country by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The test is performed by a taking a swab from the back of the throat and up the nose.
Mother-of-two Miss Emms retired from international badminton after the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where she and partner Nathan Robertson took silver in the mixed doubles.
They won gold in the 2006 World Badminton Championships.
The 42-year-old received training in the wearing of protective equipment and how to securely collect and handle samples, adding that she personally carried out "about 40 tests a day" since starting this week.
Miss Emms will now work eight-hour, four-day stints at the station.
"A lot of people have been enjoying lockdown, but I'm not one of those people - it's been a real shock to the system, horrendous," she said.
"I needed to do something, to get out there and help. I felt useless."
She praised the NHS staff on the front line as "amazing, every one of them".
- 18 May
- 6 days ago
- 5 May