Bedfordshire’s Almoner Called to Assist

After retiring from Bedfordshire Police I became the Emergency Planning Officer at Luton Borough Council. During my time in that role I wrote the emergency response plan for the county, in how to deal with an excess death incident such as a Pandemic Flu Emergency.

In mid-March I was contacted and asked if I would be available to assist with the emergency response to COVID-19 in the county, to which I said yes, but no deployment was given to me. On 1st April I was contacted again as deaths had increased markedly in the county, the hospital mortuaries in Luton & Bedford were at critical levels of occupancy as were Funeral Directors. I was asked to set up and then manage a Temporary Resting Place Mortuary for the county located at RAF Henlow.

Since becoming operational over 250 deceased persons have had a Temporary Resting Place here at Henlow. I have had a wonderful team working for me who have looked after each person with care, respect and dignity on behalf of the families, until such time we repatriate them to the appointed Funeral Director.

Every person working or visiting the Temporary Resting Place site is confronted with the following notice:-

Show Appropriate Respect, Someone’s Family Hopes You Are”

I am happy that to date the facility has not had to be used to its fullest predicted capacity. In fact I am now repatriating more to the Funeral Directors than I am having to receive into the facility.

I feel privileged to have been asked to take on this role in the emergency response and to have played a part in taking care of those who have succumbed to this virus.

Tony Green – PrGAlm