Sporting legends led by Sir Geoff Hurst urge over 70s to get Covid-19 jab


Hurst says: “For goodness sake, just get it done. It’s in your interest, as well as that of your family, friends, workmates, and your country.”

England’s 1966 World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst has led some of Britain’s sporting legends to urge people aged 70 and over yet to receive their coronavirus vaccination to join them in getting the jab.

Crystal Palace and former England Manager Roy Hodgson, former England cricketer turned commentator David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, 1969 Wimbledon Ladies Singles Champion Ann Jones CBE, five-time British Champion Jockey Willie Carson OBE and 1981 Grand National winner Bob Champion CBE have all received their first vaccination from the NHS, as members of the top four priority groups. They are set to receive their second doses within 12 weeks.

These top four groups account for 88% of COVID deaths, which is why the vaccines will play such a crucial role in saving lives and reducing the demand on the NHS.

With over 60s due to receive the vaccine soon, former England Rugby Union captain Sir Bill Beaumont CBE and double Olympic Decathlon Champion Daley Thompson CBE have said they will step forward and receive their jabs when asked to do so.

More than 13 million people have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine across the nation, as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history. This includes one in four adults in England, over 90% of everyone over 75 and over 90% of eligible residents of care homes for the elderly.

This week the Prime Minister and Health Secretary urged anyone aged 70 and over who has not yet been vaccinated to contact the NHS by visiting or calling 119 to arrange a jab.

Sir Geoff Hurst said:

Three weeks ago today my wife and I got our first AstraZeneca vaccines at 10.06 and 10.08 in our local Cheltenham Fire Station. It was well organised as you’d expect, and didn’t hurt a bit.

This is a global pandemic. For goodness sake, just get it done. It’s in your interest, as well as that of your family, friends, workmates, and your country.

Roy Hodgson said:

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get the notification that it was my turn to receive the coronavirus vaccine, so I didn’t hesitate to go along to my local medical centre. The process was simple, everything was extremely well organised. The jab, which one hardly feels, was over in seconds and in no time I found myself back at home.

I urge anyone like me, aged 70 and over, if you haven’t yet received your vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can. Or, of course if you have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, please encourage them to book an appointment and join the millions of us that have already done so.

David Lloyd said:

I’m over 70 and I’ve had my first NHS coronavirus injection. They were all set up at the local cricket and rugby club and it was great! Sleeve up, jab in…job done! Don’t hesitate, just do it…every single jab makes us all safer. Bumble says get on with the jab!

Ann Jones CBE said:

I had my vaccination about a month ago in my doctor’s surgery in Birmingham. It was painless, and I’d like to thank the NHS and all their staff for everything they are doing. I would encourage everyone who has the opportunity of getting vaccinated to take advantage of it and book an appointment. Like so many people, I’d like to get back to being able to enjoy life again, and everyone getting vaccinated offers the best opportunity of us all returning to some sort of normality as soon as possible.

Willie Carson OBE said:

Four weeks ago I got one of the best phone calls I’ve received this year – the appointment for my first coronavirus vaccination at Cirencester Hospital. I encourage everyone to get it quick – make a nuisance of yourself! The jab will make you safer.

Bob Champion CBE said:

Last week I was very excited going to my GP surgery to receive my vaccination from the surgery nurse. It is wonderful to have thousands of doctors, nurses and volunteers helping to make us safe and hopefully get us back to some normality in the near future.

The whole process was extremely well organised and the injection didn’t hurt at all. So please do not hesitate if you are aged 70 and over, and haven’t yet received your vaccine. Come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can. Encourage any grandparents, relatives and friends over 70 to book an appointment too. Every jab makes us all a bit safer. It will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.

Sir Bill Beaumont CBE said:

Given the challenges presented by coronavirus, it is fantastic that this year’s Six Nations is going ahead as planned. I know it has been an enormous effort to make it happen – it’s a real tonic to have live sport to watch. I urge everyone who is eligible for a vaccine to get it as soon as possible. Immunisation will help open up society, get the community game back up and running, and to enable crowds at live sports.

Daley Thompson CBE said:

I’m looking forward to my jab, as it will help protect those most important to me. If not for yourself, have the vaccine for the safety of others. I’m loving the thought that we are all getting closer to normal, one injection at a time.

Yesterday Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden visited Lord’s Cricket Ground, where he met doctors, nurses and volunteers supporting this national effort. The Home of Cricket opened its doors as a makeshift COVID-19 vaccination centre to its local community in January, and reached the milestone of vaccinating 10,000 people last week.

It is just one of more than 80 elite and grassroots sport venues that have been partly converted into either a large vaccination centre or GP-led service in support of the vaccine rollout – ranging from Villa Park in Birmingham, Epsom Racecourse and the Manchester Tennis Centre, to Harlow Sports Centre and Glossop Cricket and Bowling Club.

Vaccinations have also been taking place in a number of arts and cultural venues, including the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds and the Derby Arena.

The NHS is delivering COVID vaccinations at more than 1,500 sites across England alone, from mosques, to museums and cathedrals. Sites have been chosen to ensure that the vast majority of the population live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

Sports have played a magnificent role in helping us fight this virus, from hosting test centres, to providing food to frontline workers, to calling older fans at risk of loneliness. And now venues such as Lord’s are helping deliver the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in Britain’s history.

Our elderly have shown us the way by enthusiastically rolling up their sleeves, so let’s keep this going. I urge any over 70s to join our sports legends and contact the NHS if they haven’t had the vaccine yet. The vaccine will save lives, livelihoods and get us back to the things we love.

The public has a vital part to play in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the government has called on people to:

  • Help out: help those eligible for the vaccine by supporting friends, family and loved ones with their appointments, as well as volunteering to help those in the community
  • Join up: sign up to clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, as well as treatments
  • Stay informed: keep up to date with accurate and trusted NHS advice and make sure to share the facts with friends and family

Further plans on expanding the vaccination programme to the other priority groups will be set out soon.


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