Ipswich: Gold, silver and...claret - hospital phelbotomists’ key role for London 2012

IPSWICH: They are set to mingle with top athletes in the Olympic village this summer but these two ladies are not world-class sportswomen – they will be there to draw blood!

The two phlebotomists, who work at Ipswich Hospital, have been chosen as volunteers to check for performance-enhancing drugs as part of the anti-doping team.

Jane Minchin, 54, and Juliet Hines, 41, will be responsible for collecting blood samples from competitors taking part in events at the athletics stadium, velodrome and within the Olympic village.

Ms Hines said: “It’s going to be an honour.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am really excited.”

The pair volunteered their services after responding to an appeal by the National Association of Phlebotomists for skilled members to help at the Games.

Following a rigorous selection process, they discovered before Christmas they had been selected as two of the 70,000-strong team of volunteers working across all areas of the Olympics.

Most Read

Mrs Minchin, a trainer phlebotomist, who will be volunteering at the Paralympics in September, said: “I can’t get over the scale of the whole thing. Everything was a lot bigger than I imagined.

“It’s such a big thing – it is really exciting.”

Between them, the pair have more than 20 years’ experience at the Heath Road trust and regularly volunteer their services outside their regular jobs, putting their skills to good use.

Each year they take part in a PSA testing programme to help spot prostate cancer.

While 100m star Usain Bolt tops both Ms Hines and Mrs Minchin’s list of athletes they would like to test, the pair also admitted to hoping to see diver Tom Daley in action in the pool.

Before athletes reach Ms Hines and Mrs Minchin, they are followed from their event by chaperones, until they arrive to have their sample collected by the phlebotomists.

n Are you volunteering at the Olympic Games? Tell us about your role. Write to Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk