Wales

Whilst 2019-2020 started as normal, when lockdown arrived,

OOs in Wales had to adapt to the slightly differing, and often harsher,

lockdown rules applied by the Senedd. However, that did not stop us achieving things in either our work or personal lives. Speaking personally,

 I had a fascinating end to 2019 and start to 2020 with work taking me to the USA and China – to investigate damage to merchant vessels – and the South of France for super-yachts.

The superyachts are definitely cleaner vessels, but the below stairs areas are just as small as on merchant vessels.

 A very senior member of the legal profession had to go for a lie-down after trying to squeeze into a small space for an inspection.

Hopefully that will give him more respect in future for the engineering experts.

I closed out my free time before lockdown with two weeks in the sun in South Africa on another engineering project, escaping just a few days before flights ceased.

Luckily this job has continued throughout lockdown, solely document-based, and has kept me very busy.

 The company I work for has been involved in checking the efficacy of COVID-19 testing, but as an engineer

and metallurgist I leave that to the biologists. Even so, I still found time to volunteer as an NHS responder, have become a (part time) home-schooler,

and managed to break a bone in my foot whilst taking part in a treasure hunt over Zoom! Performing functions directly more useful to the current crisis, Chris Williams (Ldr 88)

was very busy with the public health response to COVID-19 in his Public Health Wales role in surveillance and epidemiology.

As part of this, he led the Wales site for the Oxford Vaccine Group trial recruiting participants to be vaccinated in a randomised controlled trial.

He told me it was a good experience to go back to some clinical work. We hope for a positive result. Staying with the medical theme,

Dr Alexander Holder (L 06) who works at Swansea University, tells me that during the height of the crisis the university put a great deal of effort into refocusing on COVID research and manufacture of PPE.

He helped a team that made 3D printed face masks and found travelling around a lockeddown city and university a surreal experience.

Swansea University’s School of Engineering also began to manufacture hand sanitiser (a remarkably large amount), and started research on UV sterilisation of ambulances, as well as other projects.

For anyone interested there is a press release for the face.

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