How Alison kept our athletes healthy
Alison Lowes, pharmacist in Cromie’s of Percy Street, volunteered to help out at the Olympics – as a pharmacist in the Olympic Village. She helped to keep athletes, officials, coaches and all members of the Olympic family healthy. This did not include the public. They had their own health care and pharmacy.
Alison stayed with her cousin in Walton on Thames, which meant 4 – 6 hours travel per day, which she paid for herself.
“It was a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity”, she said. “I was working with other health carers – physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, dentists, opticians, masseurs. And I watched some of the athletics and met some of the athletes, including Mo Farah, and even Tony Blair, who visited the clinic.”
The advertisements went out in 2009, interviews were held in 2011, and of about 1,000 applicants, 100 were accepted, including Alison.
Three trips to London followed for training: on the games, the work, and familiarisation of the site. She worked shifts, either 6.30am to 3.15pm or 2.30pm to 11.15pm.
Most of her time was spent in the pharmacy but centres on other sites had to be stocked up with medical supplies, so she did get around.
There were difficulties, one of which was language. A prescription written in Japanese characters was challenging (nothing could be handed out without a prescription) and the person who emptied the bins was roped in as an interpreter of Spanish into English.
“I really enjoyed it”, said Alison. “It combined my job and my hobby”. She loves running and is on the Druridge Bay 10k committee and a coach.