PHARMACISTS - dealing with long queues, confused and frightened customers and ensuring the most vulnerable get the medication they need - are playing a vital role in the fightback against the coronavirus.

Of course, it isn't just pharmacists, but the staff and team around them that have also been vital in looking after our communities.

Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that when we asked our readers to nominate pharmacies across the region we were inundated with responses.

Here are some of the teams and individuals across Gwent who continue to support and assist our communities.

The team at Shackletons - Abergavenny

South Wales Argus:

(Jen Brain, Karen Pearce, Katy Board.)

South Wales Argus:

(Front- Katy Board, Jane Grennow. Middle - Jen Brain, Clare Wall. Back - Jacky Perkins, Karen Pearce.)

Katy Board and the team at Shackletons were nominated by both Katy's father Bob Board and her friend Alex.

Her friend Alex said: "What’s special about Katy is her sense of humour. She has an infection way of making people laugh and smile, even when the going is really tough.

"There’s no special clap or Easter eggs for these folk yet every day they’re there at the heart of the community helping those who need medication, remedies and possibly most important, reassurance."

Her father Mr Board added: "She has been almost non-stop - along with her colleagues - since the start of the epidemic."

South Wales Argus:

(Katy Board and Karen Pearce.)

South Wales Argus:

(A storm trooper helmet doubles up as PPE.)

Thomas Coombe and Louise Gapa, Well Pharmacy - Caerleon

South Wales Argus:

(Thomas Coombe, 27, was praised by colleague Louise.)

Louise Gapa, a pharmacy dispenser, said she was "genuinely in awe" of the team's pharmacist Thomas Coombe.

"We have had the most horrific few weeks you could imagine.

"Our pharmacist, Thomas, has really held it all together.

"Thomas has been our leader in these stressful times. He arrives early and leaves late. He takes a few moments to inhale a sandwich for lunch and he’s back out there. No breaks. No rest, just constantly working to make sure our patients are safe."

South Wales Argus:

(Louise Gapa said her colleague has held the pharmacy together.)

"At only 27 he is the youngest member of our pharmacy family. But it goes without saying that the respect we have for him is just huge.

"Ninety-nine per of our patients have been absolutely fantastic. They have shown compassion and great understanding for the overwhelming situation that we are in."

However, there has been some instances of abuse which has left the team "in tears, doubting themselves and incredibly low".

"We are so much more than just a shop to buy shampoo, plasters and the odd packet of paracetamol.

"My wonderful team in Caerleon are at the heart of the community and we love our jobs."

The team at Well Pharmacy - Brynmawr

South Wales Argus:

(Kate Morgan says the support of her 'amazing team' has been crucial.)

Kate Morgan, a pharmacist at Well Pharmacy in Brynmawr says being a pharmacist has been "unbearable at times" during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lots of items are out of stock as people have panicked and ordered extra prescriptions.

"There has been a massive increase in demand for prescriptions, inhalers in particular - people who haven’t had inhalers for 20 years or more are now requesting them and getting irate when the request is being refused.

"The queues are ridiculous some days and the sale of codeine based products is through the roof at present."

She added that, while some in the community have been patient and understanding, there have been incidents of people being "very rude".

"We try to explain that we are doing our best, but unfortunately, this just doesn't seem enough at times."

Pharmacies can be "hubs" for local communities, she says.

Which is why during the pandemic she has been able to deal with two cases of domestic violence - for the first time in her career - by reporting the incident and organising welfare checks.

"We always try our best to help with everything we can, but we all still feel that our career is massively misrepresented and not appreciated by the general public."

Ms Morgan says she has the "most amazing team".

"They are a huge support and we all laugh together everyday. It’s the only thing that is keeping us going through these crazy times. I have a team of seven including myself, Anne, Tracey, Irlys, Donna, Helen, Ros.

"They are the most fantastic team I have ever worked alongside and I think it’s very important to make it clear that no pharmacist could do their job without the amazing support of their teams.

"We have had emotional days but we are getting through this together, as a team."

The team at Malpas Pharmacy

South Wales Argus:

(Erin Dowler nominated the team at Malpas Pharmacy.)

Erin Dowler, who nominated her team, said: "We'd all be lost without each other as we all play an essential part in pharmacy.

"Especially now, were just lucky to have one another and the support of the public."

South Wales Argus:

(Beverley Phillips deals with the care home patients.)

South Wales Argus:

(Geoff Thomas, the owner off Malpas pharmacy, and is also the main pharmacist.)

South Wales Argus:

(Pharmacist Carol Hudson also deals with palliative care.)

South Wales Argus:

(Brian Stoneman, one of five delivery drivers, who between deliver over 100 prescriptions a day.)

South Wales Argus:

(Supervisor Melanie Sutherland who co-runs the pharmacy.)

South Wales Argus:

(Megan Snelgrove, pharmacist at Malpas Brook Pharmacy.)

Aimee Jones - Royal Gwent Hospital

South Wales Argus:

(Aimee Jones is risking her life, says her twin sister Kate.)

Mrs Jones, who works at the Royal Gwent Hospital has been nominated by her twin sister Kate Williams.

She said: "She has been sent to work in the critical care unit during these unprecedented times of the pandemic that we are experiencing.

"Aimee has been qualified for around a decade now and this is by far been her biggest challenge yet.

"Every day Aimee is risking her and her immediate family's life for others.

"I would like to take this opportunity to tell my twin sister how proud I am of her, how her husband is so grateful for her and how much her daughter will be amazed for having a mummy as a real life hero.

"We love you Aimee, keep going, you're doing an incredible job."

Mandy Westlake, Russell Drive Pharmacy - Malpas

South Wales Argus:

(She is battling on despite knee pain, her daughter said.)

Mandy Westlake was nominated by her daughter Laura Westlake, who said she has been "amazing".

Ms Westlake said: "She has been amazing throughout all of this situation, she is awaiting a knee replacement operation and is still carrying on regardless of her pain.

"To me she is fantastic.

"And her whole team have been phenomenal."

Gavin Coward, Vicky Roden and Amy Powell

South Wales Argus:

(Mr Coward said pharmacists and staff are "taking a hammering" from the Covid-19 pandemic.)

Gavin Coward, who works in a GP surgery, said he has seen "first hand the amazing spirit and dedication of community pharmacists and their teams who go above and beyond" for patients.

He said he wanted to "thank all my community pharmacist colleagues and their staff".

"They are working in extremely hard in unbelievably difficult circumstances to provide an essential service to patients throughout Wales.

"You are well and truly part of the NHS family.

"A special thanks to Vicky Roden and Amy Powell in particular - community and hospital pharmacists and most importantly, very dearest friends.

"Although we may be in completely different sectors and places, we will get through this together and thank you for all the support you’ve given me. We have stuck together through thick and thin, and I’m so proud of you both."

Sue Llewelyn - Vida Rogers Pharmacy

South Wales Argus:

Sue was nominated by her daughter Heather Llewelyn,

She said her mum and all the staff at Vida Rogers Pharmacy in Cefn Forest have all "worked so hard throughout all of this".

Bethan Jones, pharmacist at Boots

South Wales Argus:

(Bethan Jones was nominated by her mum Gwenda Jones.)

- Shoutouts on social media

Take a look at the comments section in our Facebook post to see all the pharmacies that have been nominated by our readers.