‘NHS, I’m at your service’ - Olympic boxer pledges his support to national volunteer drive
PUBLISHED: 16:57 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:57 26 March 2020
An Olympic medallist has pledged his support to the “proper heroes” of the coronavirus pandemic by signing up as a volunteer responder.
Anthony Ogogo was among hundreds of thousands of people who reacted to a plea overnight on Tuesday by health secretary Matt Hancock for 250,000 volunteers.
In just 24 hours, 405,000 people answered the call and the sportsman said he was happy to do his bit to relieve pressure on NHS staff.
Those who have signed up can help others by doing jobs such as driving patients to appointments or making regular phone calls to those in isolation.
Mr Ogogo, who hails from Lowestoft, said he asked his followers to send him the link to sign up and shared the confirmation with his followers by saying “NHS, I’m at your service”.
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The London 2012 bronze medallist also said his personal experience of the situation - his wife is a school teacher, his sister a respiratory nurse and his mum a former physiatric nurse - had inspired him.
The 31-year-old said: “My wife is still going to school and working her backside off for the kids she teaches. My sister has just had a baby but she would be working with all the others on the frontline. They are the proper heroes and if I can take a little bit of pressure while they’re doing the proper job, I’m going to offer my services.
“I’m not doing it for Boris Johnson or the government, I’m doing it to help people and that’s why I want to offer my services, big or small. If I can help I will.”
He added: “I was reading about it, it’s driving medicine around or ringing up someone who is on their own, who are older and scared. It’s no skin off my nose.
“I’m currently at home on the couch watching the fourth episode of Friends for the day.”
Read more: ‘Phenomenal’ help from volunteers key to helping vulnerable during coronavirus
GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for at-risk patients through a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service, which will match people who need help with volunteers who live near them.
He also urged people to heed the guidance and stay home and watch Netflix.
The bronze medallist, turned wrestler, added: “Though Piers Morgan can be a bit of a dipstick, he said something on Great Morning Britain how about 100 years ago how all these young men were asked to go away and fight and lay down their lives and all we are being asked to do is stay at home. We are in a national and worldwide crisis, all we need to do is stay at home and watch television.”