FILE PHOTO: Actor Hugh Bonneville arrives for the Downton Abbey Ball at the Savoy Hotel in central London, April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo

People waiting to be vaccinated at a pharmacist-led Covid-19 vaccination site in West Sussex were in for a surprise when they were welcomed at the gate by none other than Downton Abbey’s Lord Grantham himself.

Hugh Bonneville has been getting to grips with a topical new role – as a volunteer marshal at the coronavirus vaccination centre in Midhurst.

The 57-year-old British actor, best known internationally for playing patriarch Lord Grantham in the hit TV series, is part of the support team who greet those who arrive for their injections at the hub.

“Delighted to be part of the support team as a volunteer marshal. I get to wear hi viz and everything,” he wrote in his Instagram account.

Bonneville, also known for playing Henry Brown in the “Paddington” films, was filmed by the BBC disinfecting his hands, signing in and putting on a name badge and bright yellow high visibility waistcoat before getting down to work.

“For some people, it’s the first time they’ve been out of their house in a year,” Bonneville, dressed in warm jacket and a cowboy hat, said.

“We’ve had people who’ve really been grateful for the outing as much as anything and this sense of a glimmer of hope so it’s great to be part of this team effort.”

The actor posted a picture of getting a Cobvid-19 jab at the site on Jan 29.

The site, led by pharmacist and owner of Midhurst Pharmacy Raj Rohilla, joined the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in north West Sussex last in late January.

“You can set up a thousand of these but it’s the volunteers, it’s the people who work in there that actually stand it up,” said Raj Rohilla, praising the army of volunteers and his staff. “Without them, it wouldn’t work at all.”

“It’s best to keep it local,” Rohilla told the BBC of the service, adding: “It’s something that we want to put back into the community… this is such an uplifting thing to do. We wanted to keep it very local and let those people experience that.”

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