Testing, Testing…Over and Out


Army personnel stationed in Leigh will be returning home to their barracks this week after helping to set up Wigan Borough’s first lateral flow testing site for keyworkers. 

Working alongside the council’s public health team, Major Jamie Mossop and his team from Catterick Garrison barracks have been helping to run the site at Leigh South Community Centre on Hope Carr Road for the last two weeks.   The site, which has already administered almost 1,000 tests to Wigan Council’s keyworkers, will open its doors to the public this week. .

Team leader, Lieutenant Nico Ozanne, said: “It’s been really good working with Wigan Council, they’ve been all over it and the uptake has been really good.  “It’s been quite interesting coming down here, it’s quite far from what we would usually be doing. We’re currently preparing for operations overseas at the moment, so coming from that to Leigh has been a good test for the guys’ adaptability.  “We like to pride ourselves on being flexible and resourceful, and the guys have just jumped right in, it’s been great to see.”

Professor Kate Ardern, director of public health at Wigan Council, said: “I’d really like to thank our fantastic colleagues in the Royal Lancers who have been working brilliantly with council staff and our volunteers to get our Targeted Testing at Scale programme off to such a strong start through our first site here in Leigh. This will help us take some valuable learning into the roll-out of our sites in Golborne, Wigan town Centre and pop-up sites in other locations over the next two weeks. I know my team have very much enjoyed working with the Royal Lancers and I would like to thank Major Mossop and his team for their great contribution to the borough’s pandemic response.” 

This week another test centre will open in Golborne, followed by an additional four sites in Wigan the week after, bringing the total number of lateral flow testing centres to six.  A fifth vaccination centre will also open at the Armed Forces hub in Wigan this week for key workers.