Wimbledon 2021: Covid-19 frontline workers honoured with invitation to Royal Box

The All England Tennis Club previously announced a ‘thank you’ theme for this year’s tournament

<p>The Royal Box on 28 June at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships</p>

The Royal Box on 28 June at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

People who have been instrumental in the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic were invited to watch the Wimbledon from the Royal Box on Tuesday.

A maths teacher who created an online learning platform for children, an NHS nurse who led an initiative to make scrubs for frontline workers, and the software engineer behind an app that allows emergency services to quickly find those in need were amongst the group invited to the 12th day of the tournament.

On Centre Court, the Royal Box, which has 74 seats, is reserved for members of the royal family and invited guests of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC).

Last month, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced that it had given 100 daily Centre and No.1 court tickets to teachers, theatre workers and inspirational individuals in recognition of their services during the pandemic.

Ashleigh Lindsell, an A&E nurse from Lincolnshire, was invited for her efforts to create supplies of scrubs when there was a shortage across the UK last year.

At the beginning of the first national lockdown in March 2020, Lindsell started a Facebook group, “For the Love of Scrubs”, where she asked for donations of materials to make scrubs for her colleagues.

The group has since grown into a network of 50,000 members who created scrubs for frontline workers throughout the last year. Now that demand has slowed, the group continues to make face coverings.

Sarah Bowern, the deputy head of costume at the English National Opera was also invited to the box after her team made 1700 sets of scrubs, 1000 visors and more than 500 hats and headbands for NHS staff during the first half of 2020.

The first national lockdown also saw the closure of schools, with pupils being homeschooled through Zoom and other online platforms.

Dr Jamie Frost, the Kingston-based teacher behind a website that gave pupils access to free maths learning resources while schools were closed in lockdown, was also invited to watch the tournament.

When schools first closed in March 2020, his website, Dr Frost Maths, was visited more than one million times a day, and resources have been downloaded by more than seven million people across the world.

In December 2020, he received the Global Teacher Prize Covid Hero Award for going “above and beyond to keep young people learning during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Another teacher taking her place in the Royal Box is Joyce Obaseki from Essex. In 2017, she founded Grant A Smile, a foundation whose volunteers carry out domestic chores for people coping with severe illness.

During the pandemic, the charity created a befriending service, with volunteers knocking on doors and chatting to those living alone and unable to see friends and family.

Mark Wilson, a professor at Imperial College London, and Ali Ghorbangholi, a software engineer, were invited to the Centre Court seats for the creation of GoodSAM.

GoodSAM is a platform that alerts doctors, nurses, paramedics and other frontline staff when emergencies happen near them. It differs from traditional emergency service calls as it allows those in need of help to instantly share their location and live video call emergency services from their mobiles.

Ian Hewitt, chairman of the AELTC said the pandemic prompted “extraordinary acts” from people across the country.

“On behalf of everyone at Wimbledon, I would like to say thank you. We want Wimbledon to be for everyone, and we hope that this small gesture adds to the community spirit this year,” he said.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in