AIR force reservists from Gwent have been playing a key part in the UK's coronavirus response by running a Covid-19 testing centre.

A team from 614 (County of Glamorgan) Squadron is currently operating a drive-through testing centre in the Midlands where members of the public can be tested for the virus.

Among them is former Argus paperboy, LAC Jack Pritchard, from Cwmbran.


"It’s an honour to serve my country in this emergency, and although it means I’m separated from my family, I know they are really proud of the role I’m playing," he said.

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LAC Jack Pritchard of Number 614 (County of Glamorgan) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force based in Cardiff, which is operating a Mobile Testing Unit in support of Operation Rescript; the military support to the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: RAF

Commanding the reservists' mobile testing team is Cwmbran Celtic footballer Sergeant Cathy Sharples, who said: "We all feel proud to stand by our NHS and civilian colleagues in the fight against coronavirus.

"It's great that we've been able to answer the call as a reserve squadron and help the country where we are needed."

Other local members of the team are Corporal Gareth Jones, from Newport; and SAC Michelle Williams, from Bargoed.

The 12-strong mobile testing team is currently operating in Tamworth, Staffordshire, as part of Operation Rescript – the military support for the UK's coronavirus pandemic response.

They began training in early June with the Army at Donnington and have been operational since June 22.

Based in Cardiff, 614 Squadron is Wales’ only Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadron, and also has other members supporting the national effort in civilian roles including working for the NHS, police and Welsh Government.