Britain’s longest serving councillor among first to get Covid vaccine at Peterborough medical practice urges public to heed restrictions

Britain’s longest serving councillor, Charles Swift, was among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine at a Peterborough medical centre but said he had been dismayed to see some people failing to stick to lockdown restrictions.

Saturday, 16th January 2021, 10:13 am
Charlie Swift outside Thistlemoor Medical Centre.

Mr Swift was first elected as councillor by the people of Peterborough’s north ward in 1954 as a representative of the Labour party.

He would later go on to become an independent candidate in the 1990s but remained the ward’s representative at the town hall until 2016, clocking up 62 years of service.

He has also served as mayor and been Leader of the council, serving his ward from the ages of 23 up to 86.

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Charlie receiving his vaccination.

Now into his 90s, Mr Swift was in the priority group to receive the Covid vaccine first and did so on Friday (January 15) as Thistlemoor Medical Centre, on Thistlemoor Road, began their rollout of the Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine.

The moment held extra significance given that he was instrumental in helping the practice to be set up in 1994.

Dr Neil Modha is now the GP Partner at the practice and it is his mother that Charlie worked to support in getting the practice off the ground.

Mr Swift said: “I was absolutely amazed at the operation. I thought they were unbelievably organised and I was very impressed.

Vaccination centre at Thistlemoor.

“When arriving they have people to tell you where to park, where to go, seats getting wiped down whenever they had been used.

“They had organisation down to a fine art.

“This was the first time I had been out in around eight or nine weeks but now that I’ve got this first dose it does not mean I have the right to go out and do whatever I like on the streets. I still need to stick to the rules, like we all do, that is what’s preventing people getting this horrible virus.

“It was disheartening to see so many people just yards away from the surgery queuing for banks, greeting each other as normal or playing in playgrounds.

Waiting room.

“I support the Police taking firm action against people that are not following the rules as they are the ones that could be helping to spread it around.

“People don’t understand the consequences.

“I lost my sister to Covid recently and she hadn’t left her care facility for three years but she still caught Covid-19. Me and my son are completely heartbroken that she died with nobody there and people can’t attend her funeral.

“Somewhere the message isn’t getting through and we need to take firmer action.”