Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Gabriella Pimentel has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours List.
Gabriella was awarded the honour in recognition of services to the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic, where she shared daily exercise videos to help keep people fit and active during the first lockdown.
Despite usually working in elite sport, having worked with the England Women’s Football teams, Chelsea FC and Brighton and Hove Albion, Gabriella was inspired to create the daily videos after finding out her grandparents’ exercise classes had all been cancelled due to COVID-19.
At the start of the lockdown, Gabriella promised to record one for each day, making 91 individual workout videos. To take part in the videos, viewers only need a chair and two standard store cupboard tins, which gave the series its name ‘Quaran-Tin’. The exercise routines are designed to be accessible for people who are elderly or who have low exercise tolerance.
Since recording the videos, Gabriella has been featured on BBC London News and has also published a book which is available on Amazon.
Speaking of her award, Gabriella said, "The Quaran-Tin workout was a perfect way to show the elderly that they weren't forgotten about during the first lockdown when so many were forced to self-isolate. We built a lovely community together and managed to keep those most vulnerable fit and well, whilst also giving me a great project to focus on! I never expected to receive a BEM, but it's a lovely way to end a very strange year."
Head of Health Sciences at St Mary’s Gill Horgan added, “Gabriella exemplifies all of the values of St Mary’s – Generosity of Spirit, Respect, Excellence and Inclusiveness. We are very proud of her contribution to the elderly population and are delighted to have her as part of our wonderful Physiotherapy Team.”