Dame Sarah Gilbert: Wimbledon’s standing ovation for Oxford Covid vaccine designer

·2-min read
A view of guests in the Royal Box at Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon (PA Wire)
A view of guests in the Royal Box at Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon (PA Wire)

Dame Sarah Gilbert, who co-designed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, was given a standing ovation by the crowd on Wimbledon’s Centre Court on Monday.

Medical staff and other “inspirational individuals” who have been invited to the Royal Box on the first day of this year’s Wimbledon were invited to sit in the Royal Box.

Other guests included Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of veteran fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over £32 million for the NHS and Dame Sarah’s colleagues.

They were joined by the Duke of Kent and former British racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart.

Announcers paid tribute to the “important work” done by keyworkers before the first game on Centre Court between defending champion Novak Djokovic and 19-year-old Jack Draper from the UK.

Ms Ingram-Moore, who wore a blue dress, smiled widely and waved as her father’s name received cheers.

Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Captain Sir Tom Moore, in the Royal Box on Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon (PA Wire)
Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Captain Sir Tom Moore, in the Royal Box on Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon (PA Wire)

Organisers have issued hundreds of free tickets to keyworkers throughout the tournament to say thank you for their work during the pandemic.

“In order to say thank you, the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club) has provided 100 daily Centre and No.1 Court tickets to various groups ranging from the NHS to Transport For London … and other inspirational individuals, all in recognition of the service they have provided to those in their communities throughout the pandemic,” the organisation said on its website.

The competition’s chief executive, Sally Bolton, has said there will be a “familiar feel” at the championship following a “level of uncertainty” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Bolton said she was feeling “excitement” that the famous tennis tournament was starting, adding that “we can talk about tennis and not talk about Covid”.

Speaking as the SW19 gates opened to fans for the first time in two years, she said the degree of “trepidation” felt while organising Wimbledon had been no different to any other year.

Monday sees tennis fans return to the internationally renowned courts, with multiple changes to ensure that the event remains Covid-secure.

Fans will have to present evidence of either double-jab status or negative lateral flow tests upon arrival at the grounds.

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