Monday March 22nd

Sir Trevor McDonald was recently spotted in Woking filming a video to encourage vaccine uptake among BAME communities.

The ITV broadcasting icon and former president of Surrey County Cricket Club was welcomed to Woking by residents. The High Sheriff of Surrey, Shahid Azeem, had persuaded Sir Trevor to spread the vital message on vaccine uptake.

Mr Azeem said: "Sir Trevor I know through Surrey County Cricket Club. We spoke to him, and he was very happy to record a personal message. We've got The Bedser Bridge, so there was a bit of an incentive to come to Woking."

The Bedser Bridge is a tribute to the famous Horsell cricketing twins, Sir Alec and Eric Bedser, who were friends with Sir Trevor. Sir Trevor was given a tour of the Bedser Bridge and recorded his message to BAME communities.

Mr Azeem was approached by Professor Aftab Ala of Guildford's Royal Surrey County Hospital and Dr Maneera Mohammed of Woking's Sheerwater Surgery to find ways to address healthcare issues in minority communities, including health sector inequality and vaccine uptake.

He added "They approached me as the High Sheriff and the chair of Woking Asian Business Forum and asked could I help? We had all the [local] Imams supporting it and giving messages out to their community about making sure they take the vaccine. Then I started supporting videoing messages of influencers."

The campaign is designed to overcome the disinformation that has been targeted towards BAME communities - including claims of conspiracies such as the vaccine containing pork. This has been debunked in a recent message from Surrey Muslim Association with a message on their website in English, Urdu, Bengali and Arabic.

Adil Ray of Citizen Khan and Good Morning Britain fame has also recorded a yet-to-be released video message.

Mr Azeem added: "I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but the trials it has gone through, it has been tested, it has been proven to be safe. It protects you, but it also protects other people and we've been through a terrible time. We owe it to our families, our friends, our colleagues and mankind to make sure we protect one another."

After an extremely eventful year in office, he said: "It's been the most rewarding year possible. You see people who are helping neighbours, [donating to] food banks across the county… we as a community have been completely galvanised. I've seen the best in people, really. Hopefully, we're coming out of it, and we're coming out a better, more caring society."

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