Update January 14: The FRA has been in contact again with Paul and he tells us that he is now 'over the worst'.
Paul said: "I'm slowly on the mend. Avoided hospital for which I'm truly grateful. I still get very tired doing simple tasks but cough and temperature have definitely subsided which is good news."
Paul Barker, who founded Community Coronavirus Care last March, has himself fallen victim to the virus.
Paul broke the news of his illness with a picture on Facebook and a typically no holds barred message, saying: “I feel the need to share the utter horror of what Covid looks like.”
“It is no word of a lie when I tell you it has felt like my body has been hit by a train and dragged over the tracks for last two weeks.”
His message continued: “This has been the worst two weeks of my entire life. I still have a cough and a constant headache but this is a small price to pay as I finally feel some strength coming back. “
However, since writing that post on Facebook Paul has continued to suffer symptoms, and knows that if they worsen again, admission to hospital is still a possibility. Like thousands of others he is receiving medical advice via NHS telephone services.
He has made clear that he wishes his illness to be made public to underscore the Lockdown message: Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.
Speaking to the FRA on Thursday (Jan 7) he said: “People should take this very seriously. One day you think you are on the mend, but then you feel worse again.”
Paul, who lives in Cannon Grove, Fetcham, attracted widespread media attention after launching CCC at the start of the first lockdown. It quickly became a network of dozens of volunteers answering calls for practical help from mainly housebound residents in Fetcham, Bookham and Leatherhead.
He says he’s happy to share the pictures of himself ill with Covid “in the hope it will serve as a reminder to anyone who may still be under the misconception ‘it’s just like having a dose of the flu.’ It’s not.”
And he has a blunt message for those who are not minded to follow the strict measures aimed at containing the pandemic.
“For those of you who still believe it’s an infringement on your civil liberties to wear a mask in public etc. Go ahead, convince me...!!”
The FRA was delighted to present Paul with its Community Award last October in recognition of his efforts.
FRA Chairman Tim Waller said: “All of the Committee and the many members of Fetcham Residents Association extend our warmest thoughts to you for a speedy recovery to full strength.”
Advice on getting tested, self isolating or treatment at home is available at