Excellence in the Community Awards – Herefordshire and Worcestershire

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 Herefordshire and Worcestershire and their citations:

Chief Officer Commendation: Elizabeth Bytheway from Kidderminster

Acting quickly and calmly to manage the scene of an accident is not easy especially when you come across an incident unexpectedly.  Elizabeth Bytheway did just that on her way through Kidderminster when she noticed a car that had collided with traffic lights. With no medical assistance on scene, Elizabeth stepped forward to start treating two adults and a baby for their injuries. She continued to treat the patients until they were finally conveyed to hospital. Elizabeth was presented with a Chief Officer Commendation in recognition of her single-handed response and management of several casualties at the scene of an incident.

Good Citizen Award: Lorraine Cross-James from The Rose Garden Retirement Village in Hereford

The Rose Garden Retirement Village is a large complex in Hereford and it was here that ambulance crews responded to a 999 call after a resident had collapsed. On arrival, the crew were immediately impressed with the actions of Lorraine Cross-James a member of staff who was doing excellent CPR and basic life support on a resident who is now recovering well. The crews were so impressed with the professionalism and emergency care given by Lorraine they recommended her for an award.

Training and Defibrillator Award: Rob and Maggie Underwood from ‘Redditch HeartSafe’

Rob and Maggie Underwood believe that all venues should install an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). When a sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the casualty is usually relying on the ambulance service and first responders and although they try their best they can sometimes be some distance away from the scene. Rob and Maggie work with Redditch HeartSafe to provide defibrillators to the Redditch area. Car-washing, bag-packing and seeking support from local businesses are all part of acquiring funds to purchase the vital lifesaving machines for the community. Rob and Maggie were presented with their award in recognition of their significant efforts.

Business Support Award: Simon Powell from ‘Black Mountain Charity Events’

A ton of animal feed, 75 fencing stakes and barbed wire; some farmed meat. Not exactly what you would expect when raising money from a charity auction but it works for the Black Mountain Charity, a group of people from the Black Mountain area of Wales bordering Herefordshire who have raised money for local charities! Simon Powell from the Black Mountain Charity is a representative of the organisation that has raised in the region of £15,000 for local charities including some well-known organisations such as Midlands Air Ambulance and the Community First Response scheme.

Business Support Award: Sainsbury’s Kidderminster – Store Manager Kevin Healey and Charity Liaison Staff Helen Bower and Samantha Buckley

‘Severn Area Rescue Association’ (SARA) plays an important role in assisting WMAS when it comes to river rescues and flood alerts. It is not easy to fund an increasingly expensive operation like SARA so when Sainsbury’s in Kidderminster stepped forward the organisation was overjoyed. To mark the business link between SARA and their sponsor Sainsbury’s, the store was presented with a Business Support Award. Steve Bradley from SARA assisted with the presentation.

Distinguished Service Award: David Tew from Redditch

David Tew joined the CFR scheme in September 2010.  He has undertaken the role of Co-ordinator for the Redditch area and has worked tirelessly in spreading the word of Community First Responders around Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In August last year, Dave attended an 18 month old in a cardiac arrest where he assisted a crew with resuscitation. H also conveyed the mother to hospital. He was commended for his actions.

Distinguished Service Award: Chrissie Johnston from Kington

Chrissie Johnston supports CFR schemes across Herefordshire, especially her local scheme in the Kington area. Her enthusiasm and desire to support the popular CFR schemes is praiseworthy.  Chrissie gives support to the new CFRs which is far and beyond what is expected.  Chrissie recently attended an emergency involving a family member and conducted herself with true professionalism. Chrissie is commended for her hard work in her local community.

Volunteer of the Year Award 2013: Loraine Coleman from ‘Herefordshire Heartstart’

Our headline Volunteer of the Year Award goes to someone who actually received recognition at last year’s event. This year she is collecting the highest award for her outstanding work as a co-ordinator for the ‘Herefordshire Heartstart’ project.  This person works tirelessly to provide training to all local communities and schools across the county. In fact since her last appearance at these awards over 30,000 people, including all schools in Herefordshire have received HeartStart training and this has been verified by the British Heart Foundation.  This is a magnificent effort and worthy of this award.

Ian Painter Area Development Manager for the British Heart Foundation said: “I would also like to congratulate Lorraine on her award and the enthusiasm and training she has provided for the people in Herefordshire. Teaching young people how to save a life is as important as learning to read and write and we think it’s essential for every young person to leave school knowing Emergency Life Support skills (ELS). They are skills which equip young people for real situations they might face in their lives.”

Lorraine Cross-James, Loraine Coleman, Chrissie Johnston, Simon Powell


Community First Responders are everyday members of the public who are trained in life-saving techniques, including the use of a defibrillator. They are essential in areas that are remote, far from an ambulance station and hard for an ambulance crew to reach quickly. Their availability, close proximity and local knowledge are among their many assets.

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

For more information about Herefordshire Heartstart, visit www.herefordshireheartstart.org

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