Excellence in the Community Awards – Birmingham and the Black Country

Friday 8th November 2013 – 3.20pm – Chris Kowalik.

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An awards ceremony has been held to honour members of the public from across the West Midlands region who have gone beyond the call of duty to help save lives and support the work of West Midlands Ambulance Service’s 4,000 staff.

The event, sponsored by Cardiac Science, Ferno UK and SP Services at the Best Western Plus Stoke-on-Trent Moat House on Thursday 7th November recognised the efforts of Community First Responders, St John Ambulance, other emergency services and other voluntary organisations, businesses and individuals.

Addressing the audience, West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “Tonight is a celebration to say a really big thank-you to all of you and your colleagues for what you do on a regular basis to help and support the ambulance service here in the West Midlands but, more importantly, to provide the very best care that you consistently do on a daily basis to save as many lives as we can. It’s not by accident that West Midlands Ambulance Service is one of the best performing ambulance services in our country. That takes an awful lot of hard work, not just by our own staff that we employ but also by the volunteers. Over two thousand volunteers work on a regular basis to support the ambulance service here in the West Midlands and I am really grateful for all the support that you provide. I would like to add my personal thanks to your partners and your families for the support they give you. I know that what you do is held in very high regard and I am really proud of the work that you do.”

The Trust’s Chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum turned to poetry to pay tribute:

“Oh volunteers come ye may, Serving the communities both night and day, I’d like to speak on behalf of all the nation, And thank-you for your dedication.”

Presenting some of the awards Susie Lillingston, the High Sheriff of Staffordshire said: “The ambulance service is under increasing pressure every day and as volunteers you have an exceptional role as you help in so many different ways. All of you are invaluable and essential services for which we, the general public, are very grateful. Let’s not forget those who do the fundraising which is a thankless task but without which much of the work some of you do just wouldn’t be possible.”

Award winners from Birmingham and the Black Country and their citations:

Chief Officer Commendation: Adam Hipkiss from Sedgley. St John Ambulance

21-year old Adam Hipkiss from Sedgley is a regular crew member manning one of the charity’s emergency ambulance vehicles.  There have been a couple of examples of Adam’s maturity and professionalism, particularly the treatment of a patient suffering a heart attack where care and compassion were the order of the day. For his ongoing enthusiasm and professional care to patients, Adam was awarded a Chief Officer Commendation.

Chief Officer Commendation: Kristion Osborne from Walsall

Kristion heard a screech of brakes and breaking glass outside his house. He immediately went outside to a serious road traffic collision and managed to get access into the crashed car and drag a man from the vehicle. Kristion then performed CPR and first aid to the casualty before emergency crews arrived. Even then he continued to assist ambulance staff in the treatment of several patients involved at the scene. In recognition of his valuable assistance to the emergency services, a Chief Officer Commendation was awarded to Kristion Osborne.

Chief Officer Commendation: Red Watch – Walsall Fire Station. Watch Commander Brian Worrallo and Crew Commander Peter Smith

At the same incident as that attended by Kristion Osborne (above), Walsall Fire Station ‘Red Watch’ arrived on scene and they were immediately faced with the resuscitation of a patient. They assisted the trauma doctor and ambulance crews in administering fluids and other medical treatments. The doctor on scene was full of praise for the joint working of the fire crews involved and recommended them for a Chief Officer Commendation.

Chief Officer Commendation: Gary Phillips, Paul Wainde and Richard Hawkins of Land Rover Business Protection Ambulance Team in Solihull

and Mark Szucs, Nigel Malloy, Edward Lowe, Steve Keely and Abid Mahmood of DHL Medical.

As one of the largest employers in the region Land Rover has a crack medical team ready for action. The specialist team attended to a patient suffering a cardiac arrest at the Solihull site earlier this year.  The Land Rover Business Protection Ambulance team together with the DHL Medical team immediately started basic life support and CPR was administered, together with the use of an AED normally located at the Land Rover premises. As a result of prompt and commendable actions by the medical teams on site, the patient was successfully resuscitated and conveyed to hospital.

Good Citizen Award: Daniel Watterson from Kings Norton

Daniel attended to a motorcyclist in cardiac arrest after he collided with a car in Kings Norton. When ambulance crews arrived, he identified himself and was already treating the patient. He came across the incident on his way home from Red Cross duties. He was doing exceptional CPR and was in complete control of the situation. Daniel stayed on scene assisting the ambulance crew while resuscitation efforts continued, which was very nearly an hour!  Following the incident, the CARE Team doctor at the scene had nothing but praise for Daniel.

Community Training and Defibrillator Award: Andy Bradshaw, Michael Marshall, Matt Walters, Natalie Layton, Zara Biddle and Katie Byrne from Fox Hollies Leisure Centre in Acocks Green

Just to highlight how important a defibrillator is in the workplace, look no further than Fox Hollies Leisure Centre. Mark Percival was an off-duty member of staff when he suffered a cardiac arrest. The centre lifeguards managed to get him out of the water and started Basic Life Support, CPR and used the AED. Thanks to Andy Bradshaw (Operation Manager), Mike Marshall, Natalie Layton; Katie Byrne; Zara Biddle and Matt Walters the patient survived and made a full recovery.

Chief Officer Commendation: David Whitehouse, Stephen Wade, Stuart Vickers and Kim Weaver-Davies from Wolverhampton Railway Station

Four railway employees from Wolverhampton railway station, trained in the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and basic life support techniques, went to the aid of a gentleman who had collapsed in cardiac arrest while waiting to board a replacement bus service near the station. The patient was given immediate treatment and an AED, normally located at the train station, was used. When ambulance crews arrived on scene the patient was starting to recover.  The ambulance crew highly praised the railway employees for their prompt and professional actions. Also present to assist with the presentation of this award were the patient Norman Brotherton and his wife Jean from Penn. A Community Training and Defibrillator Award was also awarded to Wolverhampton Railway Station.

Stephen Wade, Norman Brotherton, Stuart Vickers, Kim Weaver-Davies, David Whitehouse, Raj Parkesh

Chief Officer Commendation: Raj Parkesh from Wolverhampton Railway Station

Not satisfied with saving one life, staff at Wolverhampton Railway station did it once again at the end of September. A man travelling on a train suddenly collapsed as the train was about to pull out of Wolverhampton. The emergency button was pushed and staff at the station swung into action. Raj Parkesh immediately started CPR and basic life support on the patient. I am pleased to say that the patient is now recovering at home and has conveyed his grateful thanks and that of his wife and two young children. A family friend wrote to say: “Your staff can be rightfully proud of themselves and deserve praise for the way they handled the situation on what started out as an ordinary Friday night.”

Business Support Award: Richard Bourton from MG Sales Centre in Longbridge

One of the most treasured possessions for a Community First Responder group is a vehicle. One of the most famous names in the motoring world has come forward to provide a vehicle to the Sutton Coldfield ‘FastAid’ teams. To mark this generous support Richard Bourton from the MG Sales Centre in Longbridge was presented a Business Support Award.

Business Support Award: Mark Gibbons, Sales Manager from Baxi Commercial Division

Baxi Commercial is a sponsor of ‘FastAid’ Community First Responder (CFR) group in the Black Country. Mark Gibbons, Baxi Commercial Northern Regional Sales Manager, gives up his spare time to be a CFR for the local group. Impressed by Mark’s dedication to the cause, Baxi Commercial has supported FastAid Black Country as its chosen charity this year with a £3,000 donation. This is fantastic news and has helped towards the purchase of a response car for the CFRs to serve their community.

Distinguished Service Award: Carol Morris from ‘FastAid’ Community First Responders Bilston Group

Carol Morris has shown a consistent commitment and enthusiasm to the ‘FastAid’ charity, her local community and WMAS for almost 7 years.  Carol is described as a very kind and caring lady and she continually promotes the good work of the charity at her local school, fire station and local groups.  Carol is an extremely reliable, loyal and motivated lady who is a real driving force in Bilston where she responds.

Distinguished Service Award: Chris Firkin from ‘FastAid’ Community First Responders Walsall Group

Chris Firkin has been an active CFR with ‘FastAid’ charity since April 2012.  There is no job or task too great for Chris and how he balances his work with a young family and his role as coordinator, Heartstart Instructor, fundraiser and event cover for the whole of Black Country, we are not entirely sure.  However, he does it very well!  Chris has received numerous messages of thanks and praise from ambulance staff and he continues to be a great member of the team, always smiling, light-hearted and is good to be around.

Distinguished Service Award: Dave Monk from ‘FastAid’ Community First Responders

David Monk has been a member of ‘FastAid’ from the very start and has worked extremely hard to raise funds to enable ‘FastAid’ to purchase a whole range of new equipment.

Distinguished Service Award: Stuart Grainger from Birmingham

Stuart Grainger is a CFR in the heart of Birmingham city centre. He deals with a variety of callouts and he also plays his part in the highly successful Temporary Minor Injury Unit on Friday and Saturday nights in Broad Street in the city.


Community First Responders are everyday members of the public who are trained in lifesaving techniques, including the use of a defibrillator. They can be called upon by the ambulance service’s control room to attend medical emergencies in their area while an emergency ambulance vehicle is en-route.

About St John Ambulance:

St John Ambulance teaches people first aid so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. It teaches young people in schools and through its youth programmes. It teaches employees for their workplace, and it teaches people in the community. Some become St  John Ambulance volunteers, providing first aid at events, or supporting their local ambulance service.

Media requiring further information relating to St John Ambulance representatives or to request interviews should contact:

Jo Cunningham PR Officer 07815 913887 or jocunningham@cakemedia.co.uk

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