Stars of Suffolk Awards 2014: Special Recognition award for Will Pooley
- Credit: Archant
The first Special Recognition award at the Stars of Suffolk Awards 2014 was given to Will Pooley, the volunteer nurse from Eyke who contracted the deadly ebola virus in August while treating patients in Sierra Leone.
Mr Pooley, then aged 29, was flown back to the UK by the RAF and made a full recovery after being treated in a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
In October, he announced he was flying back to Sierra Leone to continue his work helping to treat people with the disease there.
At the ceremony, his parents Jackie and Robin Pooley accepted the award on his behalf.
Robin said: “Will says he feels like this is what he was meant to do. I think he is very lucky that he has found that.
“It was lovely having him home while he was recovering. It is always lovely having Will, his sister and his two brothers at the house.
“But we were not surprised to see him go back.”
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Earlier this year, in an interview with this newspaper, his mother Jackie, after watching a short video clip of their son being interviewed about his work as a volunteer nurse treating Ebola victims in Sierra Leone, said: “We looked at the video and both felt independently that he had found the thing that fulfilled him.
“He looked almost joyful. You could see that he felt he was doing something wonderful.”
Once he had recovered from the virus they always knew he would return to Sierra Leone. And that they wouldn’t stand in his way.
“The idea that he is being selfish by going back has never come into our minds,” Jackie said.
“We all support him.”
They are now once again getting used to life without Will, who returned to West Africa on October 19 to volunteer with King’s Health Partners just outside the capital, Freetown.
He is working in the isolation unit at Connaught Hospital, training local staff and helping to set up isolation units.