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Ton Pentre’s Darren helps Army’s Covid-19 operation

A Ton Pentre man who was called up to help in the Army’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has returned to his day job.

At the beginning of April, Darren Griffiths, 42, swapped his usual job as a Gas Engineering Operative for gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, to help on the front-line assisting Welsh Ambulance Service Trust.

Darren, an Army Reservist for the past three years, was mobilised full-time to the Army’s 3 Royal Welsh Decontamination Platoon, which helped Wales Ambulance Service Trust with vehicle cleaning during the crisis.

Darren explains:

“I spent 10 years in the Army, followed by 12 years out and then opted to re-enlist as a Reservist.

“Being called up meant that I swapped my work overalls for a full protective suit to deep clean ambulances that carried patients with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus. I also spent time helping to unload PPE at Cardiff Airport for delivery to NHS staff.

“We got full training from NHS paramedics in how to clean ambulances and, crucially, how to take the suit off when you’ve finished. This was particularly important as there’s always the possibility of Covid-19 being present on the suit once you’ve performed the deep clean.”

Darren’s work as an Army Reserve was made easier after Wales & West Utilities signed the Armed Forces Covenant last year which has further strengthened the company’s commitment to supporting the military community and their families.

Darren added:

“I’m proud to have played a part in helping out during the peak of the crisis. It was important that I could help and ease just some of the pressure being felt by those on the front-line. 

“Wales & West Utilities were really supportive, and I am proud that the culture of the company allowed me to help.

“I am now back working doing my usual day job as a Gas Engineering Operative: looking after the pipes that keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses across Wales and south west England.”

Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director, Sarah Hopkins, said:

“We recognise the valuable contribution our armed forces colleagues make to their communities. We’re proud of Darren, and his hard work to support those working on the frontline.

"As a company, we are urging people who have received a letter from the NHS advising them to take additional measures to 'shield' themselves from Covid19 to consider joining the Priority Service Register (PSR).

"By joining it allows us, and other energy and utility companies, to look after people who need extra support. Joining is simple and free and more information can be found at wwutilities.co.uk/priority." 

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we'll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We'll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.