2 images: a close up of a smiling woman and a woman kneeling on the roof of a tank

“It feels like I’m making a real difference”: Covid testing in Liverpool

Corporal Mary Ondieki has swapped desk work for distributing COVID-19 tests since being deployed to Liverpool to assist with mass testing.

A woman in Army uniform stands in front of a wall
Corporal Mary Ondieki

In her day job, Mary works as part of the Staff and Personnel Support branch at the King’s Royal Hussars, providing vital administrative and financial support for personnel.

“I’m usually sat behind a computer. I look after 85 personnel, making sure that they are paid correctly. I also keep up with their movements and ensure that they get any allowances they are entitled to.”

However, when the Army was deployed to assist COVID-19 testing in Liverpool, Mary’s unit stepped up to the challenge. She’s now part of a team conducting tests in two locations across Liverpool, rotating between different roles throughout the day.

“My day to day now involves me waking up in the morning, getting my test done and making sure that I’m COVID negative and starting my day by getting to a test site, and conducting testing.

“We’ve become quite efficient in how we’re doing things. The test itself is brilliant that you get the results within 30 minutes.”

Mary joined the Army three years ago after graduating university.

Close up of a woman in an academic gown
Mary at her university graduation

“I joined at 26 which I felt was quite late compared to my colleagues. I finished my masters and worked for a period, but I felt my job to be quite repetitive.

“Joining the Army was something I always wanted to do and I felt that if I didn’t, I would probably regret it later on.”

Since deploying the Army has been welcomed by the people of Liverpool.

“People have been very positive, we’ve even had people drop in a few presents. We’ve had biscuits, we’ve had muffins and other things come in so I think everyone is quite happy to have us around.

Close up image of a smiling woman in a car
Corporal Mary Ondieki

“It feels great. It feels like I’m part of a team that’s making a real difference.

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here 👇

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