Long Service and Excellence Awards

Monday 16th March 2015 – 9.15am – Chris Kowalik.

Staff of West Midlands Ambulance Service, volunteers and members of the public have been honoured at a ceremony in Staffordshire for their help in saving lives.

Chief Officer Commendations were awarded at the Long Service and Excellence Awards, sponsored by Celesio UK and Zoll UK Ltd. at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull on Thursday 12th March during which members of ambulance service staff received awards for long service and good conduct and retirement certificates.

This year, more than 60 operational members of staff became eligible for their 20 year Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. The combined years of service of all those eligible for 20, 25 and 30 year Long Service Awards totalled 1,500 years.

Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: “It is right that we take time out of our busy schedules to pause for a moment to reflect on all the great things that our staff, volunteers and colleagues from the other emergency services and our partners do to support the ambulance service in providing a really good service for the public and saving lives.”

Sir Graham Meldrum, Chairman of West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “The awards we are giving today are all about the value that we place upon the people who are receiving those awards. Not only should the awards be given, it is like justice – they should also be seen to be given. We are here today to see awards given to people who will greatly value those awards. But also we, the public, also value what you do for us and the service that you give. And we are here today to witness that value being recognised publicly in the community. I thank you very much indeed for what you have done.”

Paul Sabapathy CBE, the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands who made presentations on behalf of the Queen, said: “We are so fortunate in having you. We call the ambulance service when we are absolutely desperate. People are distressed and stressed out of their minds when they call you and you come there and deal with it and assure them and make sure that they are looked after.

On behalf of Her Majesty, The Queen, on behalf of all the citizens here in the West Midlands, thank-you from the bottom of our hearts for what you do because you do a fantastic job.”



Chief Officer Commendation:

Mollie Winkler and Maureen Austin – members of the public from Stourport

Mollie was just 7-years-old when she helped to raise the alarm after her grandmother fell on a step and received a head injury. Maureen Austin was looking after Mollie when she fell over a step at their house. Mollie showed great calmness by letting herself out through the front door and going to a neighbour to raise the alarm. Mollie then waited for ambulance staff to arrive before directing them to her grandmother.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Andy Parker – Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police

Councillor ‘Bob’ Prabhjit Dhillon from Warwick

In April last year, Councillor Richard Davies was just two minutes into an after-dinner speech at a mayoral event at the Court House in Warwick, when he was suddenly taken poorly, staggering backwards into a wall and collapsed in cardiac arrest . Fortunately, Councillor Davies was in good hands because Councillor Bob Prabhjit Dhillon the Mayor of Warwick at the time and Warwickshire’s Chief Constable, Andy Parker went to his aid and immediately started CPR. Their resuscitation attempts were successful, almost certainly saving Richard’s life before ambulance crews arrived.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Elizabeth Dean – member of the public from Birmingham

Donna Boyle – Emergency Medical Technician based in Birmingham

David Wheeler – Paramedic based in Birmingham

Last November, off-duty nurse Elizabeth Dean went to aid a car driver who had collapsed at the wheel and collided with another car. Elizabeth started immediate resuscitation of the patient, giving CPR and basic life support until the arrival of ambulance staff, responder Donna Boyle, her crewmate who was unable to attend the ceremony and responder David Wheeler. They arrived to continue with resuscitation and advanced life support until the patient reached hospital. According to the crew, nurse Elizabeth Dean did an ‘amazing’ job at the scene. The others didn’t do so badly either(!)


Chief Officer Commendation:

PC Lucy Diment – British Transport Police, Birmingham

It was late in the evening when a man in his seventies suddenly collapsed at Birmingham New Street railway station in December. Two British Transport Police officers responded to the incident. They were first to reach a man in cardiac arrest, immediately becoming involved in the resuscitation of the patient. PC Lucy Diment had only been an operational officer for seven months and together with her colleague who was unable to attend the ceremony provided excellent CPR and used their AED defibrillator to shock the patient. Arriving ambulance crews highly praised the two officers for their lifesaving attempts.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Kathryn Corlett Emergency Care Practitioner based in Hereford

Patricia Johnson, Advanced Paramedic based in Craven Arms.

Kathryn Corlett and another member of staff who was unable to attend the ceremony were commuting off duty when they came across a motorcyclist who had collided with a lorry. They immediately went to assist the seriously injured motorcyclist. At the same time, Patricia Johnson and her ambulance crewmate who was also unable to attend the ceremony were en-route to an emergency case when they actually witnessed the accident. They also assisted at the scene and treated the patient for serious injuries before the air ambulance arrived. They were all commended for their intervention at a serious incident and the immediate treatment given.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Tom Rose – Paramedic based in Birmingham

Tragedy unfolded on the streets of Birmingham in June last year when a car careered off the road and collided with a bus shelter fatally injuring a young girl and seriously injuring a second woman who sadly died a couple of days later. It was a scene of total carnage when paramedic Tom Rose arrived in his rapid response vehicle as first officer on scene. Tom showed composure and the highest degree of professionalism as he dealt with the scene in the moments before ambulance back-up arrived.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Stuart Grennan, Paramedic based in Bromsgrove

Dementia is a cruel medical condition not just affecting the patient but is often extremely distressing for family and friends. This award was presented to two staff based in Worcester whose quick reactions and sensitivity to the situation helped to reunite a missing dementia patient with his family on New Year’s Eve. Stuart Grennan and a colleague who was unable to attend the ceremony were called to reports of a road traffic collision near Droitwich. When they arrived they found not a road accident but a 70 year old man whose car had run out of petrol. The man appeared confused and displaying behaviours typical of dementia. Sensitive questioning by the crew resulted in the man explaining he was going to London. The crew even managed to get his name and address and assumed he may have gone missing from his home in Cornwall. They called the control room’s Clinical Hub who contacted Devon and Cornwall Police. It was quickly confirmed the man had indeed been reported as missing. They took the man to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where his grateful family were reunited with him a few hours later.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Mike Kelsall – Paramedic Area Support Officer based at Stoke

Matt Thompson – Paramedic and Clinical Team Mentor based at Willenhall

Duncan Morrison – Paramedic based in Staffordshire

Jonathan Whitehouse – former Community First Responder from Wolverhampton

Mark Colwell had the misfortune to be knocked off his push bike in South Staffordshire in March last year. The positive thing about this case was that Mark was wearing a cycle helmet. The bad news was he sustained injuries to his ribs, ruptured lung, shoulder, wrist and hand fractures together with a back injury. He ended up in New Cross Hospital after being treated at the roadside by members of staff whose highly-skilled intervention ensured Mark was in safe hands throughout. Mark and his family were present at the ceremony to help present the awards.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Robert Wilde, Advanced Paramedic, Peter Savage, Emergency Medical Technician and Mel Bird, Paramedic based at Leominster

In June last year ambulance crews were called to a serious dog attack in Leominster. Arriving first on scene were Robert Wilde and Peter Savage. As they approached the scene they could see two dogs viciously attacking several people including three women. Also on scene was Mel Bird who was off duty at the time but heard the commotion and went straight to the scene. One patient suffered ‘significant’ injuries and two others sustained dog bites as they went to her assistance. Robert, Peter and Mel were highly praised by by-standers for their bravery at the scene, and their treatment of all the patients at the same time as they held off two dangerous dogs until further assistance arrived.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Kerry Hemus – Critical Care Paramedic based at Midlands Air Ambulance at Cosford

Dr. David Balthazor – based at Midlands Air Ambulance at Cosford

Thomas Waters – Critical Care Paramedic based at Midlands Air Ambulance at Cosford

Two Midlands Air Ambulances were part of a full medical team which saved a Shropshire farmer after metal spikes fitted to his tractor pierced his body. The tractor apparently suddenly moved forward and pinned the farmer to bales of hay. Fortunately, a neighbour heard his calls for help and alerted the emergency services.   The farmer remained conscious remembering every detail of his ordeal as ambulance crews arrived on scene to start initial treatment. Midlands Air Ambulance crews on Helimed 03 based at Cosford and Helimed 09 from Tatenhill in Staffordshire were also called to the farm near Ellesmere in north Shropshire. Crews spent over an hour removing the machinery in order to free the farmer. More blood supplies were airlifted to the scene and eventually the farmer was released and taken by air ambulance to a nearby Trauma centre. The farmer made a rapid recovery and has since returned to work on his farm. The land-based ambulances crews who attended the incident were unable to attend the ceremony.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Stuart Punter – Emergency Medical Technician based at Dudley

Stuart Punter was driving home after a busy night shift when he came across an incident in Dudley in August. He stopped to assist police officers who were talking to a young woman who was hanging precariously from a bridge 80 feet above the roadway. The situation was getting very tense as the woman, by now hanging onto the bridge by her finger tips, was becoming exhausted. Stuart and a police officer took a split second decision that she was about to fall to her death and made a grab for the woman as she started to loosen her grip. The young woman was pulled to safety just in time. The actions of Stuart have been described as ‘heroic’.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Sarah Lawrence – Emergency Medical Technician based in Dudley

In August, Sarah Lawrence and a colleague who was unable to attend the ceremony responded to a serious building fire in Tipton. They were first on scene and were immediately faced with a second floor flat well ablaze. The fire started in a bedroom and the two patients involved had both leapt from a second floor window moments before the crew arrived. The man received leg injuries and a woman suffered smoke inhalation. With the fire still well alight above their heads, Sarah and her colleague treated the patients at great risk to themselves. It was only when the windows blew out of the building that the crew were forced to carry the patients to an area of safety before continuing to treat their injuries. They were joined by ambulance crews at the scene and the patients were eventually taken to a local hospital for treatment. Neil Ashmore and Sarah Lawrence were praised for acting above and beyond the call of duty at great personal risk to treat the two patients.


Chief Officer Commendation:

Jacqueline Chase – Call Assessor based at the Emergency Operations Centre in Brierley Hill

Emergency Operations Centre call assessors are often asked to provide life saving instructions to members of the public over the phone. This task is always a stressful and demanding business but providing instructions to a member of the public who was at the scene of a 9-year-old child in cardiac arrest is exceptionally challenging. Jacqueline Chase provided clear and precise instructions to a member of the public that led to CPR and basic life support being carried out and thankfully a positive outcome for the patient.


Outstanding Achievement Award:

Edd Davis – Paramedic based in Shrewsbury

Edd has made his name promoting West Midlands Ambulance Service. Edd Davis based at Shrewsbury Hub has made it a very important aspect of his role to promote the work of the ambulance service to a wider audience. We are indebted to a growing number of our staff who regularly ‘go that extra mile’ to publicise the Trust in a positive manner through school visits and public displays. Edd is one of a group of enthusiastic individuals who regularly undertakes public relations in his own time. Edd was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award in appreciation of his efforts to promote the ambulance service in Shropshire.


Outstanding Achievement Award:

Peter Shipman – Paramedic based in Birmingham

Sally Powell – Paramedic based in Birmingham

Dean Graham – Paramedic based in Birmingham

Three members of our staff have been recognised for their work which drew high praise from Birmingham City Council. Safeguarding vulnerable adults is an increasingly important part of the work carried out by our staff. Ambulance crews often work with other agencies, such as the police and local authorities, to ensure patients are protected at all times. Although we are unable to identify the particular case in question, Peter Shipman, Sally Powell and Dean Graham have been praised by the Chair of Birmingham City Council Adults Board for the actions they took to highlight a safeguarding case, proving that the initiative is an important factor in patient care and protecting vulnerable people in the community.


Outstanding Achievement Award:

Sally Sherry – Administrator based at the Courier Transport Service in Stafford

Sally Sherry has been singled out for her significant contribution to the work of the Courier Transport Service, making sure contracts are signed for and the department is operating to its usual high standards. Sally has been nominated by her colleagues for her excellent contribution to this often unsung and invaluable Service.


Outstanding Achievement Award:

Leroy Rogerson – Intra-Hospital Liaison Officer based in Stoke On Trent

Leroy Rogerson has made quite a name for himself in recent years especially in the Staffordshire area. Leroy works as Intra-Hospital Liaison Officer for WMAS at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. His close working relationship with the hospital service and the community has already brought him a Signal Radio ‘Pride in the Community’ Award to his ever increasing collection. Praise has been forthcoming from all quarters for Leroy’s dedication to patient care and service to the community.


Outstanding Achievement Award:

Steve Harris – ‘Emergency Biker’ Paramedic based in Birmingham

One of Birmingham’s much loved ‘Emergency Bikers’ is taking it a little slower these days after stepping down from his full time role after more than 36 years’ service. Motorcycle Paramedic Steve Harris, affectionately known as ‘Forrest’ by colleagues as well as fans of Channel 5’s Emergency Bikers, officially retired from full time working last Summer. However, Steve continues to be part of the Birmingham scene as a part-time biker. He joined the service in 1978 and has worked an impressive 18 years as a motorcycle paramedic. Over the years Steve has provided patient care to many thousands of people in Birmingham City Centre and beyond. Steve continues to be a well-known face patrolling the street of Birmingham and he will now receive an Outstanding Achievement award for his long and distinguished service to WMAS, the motorbike unit and the people of Birmingham.


Outstanding Achievement Award:

Tom Waters – Paramedic based at Midlands Air Ambulance in Cosford

Gerard Kelly – Paramedic based in Lichfield

Mark Smith – Paramedic officer based in Hereford

The Ebola outbreak in Africa has become the World’s most feared viral outbreak. A group of NHS medical staff volunteered to make the journey to Sierra Leone to help in the fight against Ebola with GOAL which is an international humanitarian organisation. They were part of a group of GPs, nurses and paramedics who have been through intensive training in the UK and travelled to West Africa to help treat people who have contracted the virus.   Three paramedics initially stepped forward to join the first group to Africa at the end of 2014. We cannot underestimate the huge task they faced. They all deserve our fulsome praise and we therefore present them with Outstanding Achievement Awards for their part in fighting the Ebola outbreak.


Partnership Award:

Julie Heathcote – from ‘Performance Through People’

Each year West Midlands Ambulance Service recognises a close working relationship it has forged with an organisation over the past twelve months. This year the Trust is delighted to recognise ‘Performance Through People Training Limited’. The company is a regional training provider for Support Services, apprenticeships and Health and Social care across the region.

Since PTP’s partnership with WMAS started in 2009, almost 500 Trust employees have enrolled on a programme of learning. Since 2012 there have been a total of 86 people recruited into Patient Transport Service apprenticeship roles, with many progressing into permanent roles in the Trust. 383 WMAS employees have previously enrolled on a programme of learning with 273 of these working towards an apprenticeship programme.


Mentor Award:

John Renshaw – Paramedic and Clinical Team Mentor based in Birmingham

Richard Malin – Paramedic and Clinical Team Mentor based in Bromsgrove

Paul Cope – Paramedic and Clinical Team Mentor based in Coventry

Nick Henry – Paramedic and General Manager for the Black Country

With the success of our huge student paramedic recruitment campaigns, the Trust has literally hundreds of new faces out on the frontline. To support our student paramedics in their chosen career the Trust has put in place a mentoring programme in each of our operating areas. Earlier this year we asked for nominations for Mentor of the Year and Ambulance Hub of the Year:

  • John Renshaw, Birmingham Mentor of the Year.
  • Richard Malin, West Mercia Mentor of the Year.
  • Paul Cope, Coventry & Warwickshire Mentor of the Year.
  • Willenhall was voted Ambulance Hub of the Year – the award was collected by Nick Henry.

Staffordshire’s Mentor of the Year and the Black Country Mentor of the Year were unable to attend the ceremony.


Team Achievement in Excellence Award: The Mental Health Response Unit: Rob Cole, Head of Clinical Practice – Mental Health based in Brierley Hill.

What started as a trial scheme has gone on to make national headlines. A scheme which has led to a dramatic reduction in the number of people suffering mental ill health issues ending up in police custody in Birmingham, the Black Country, Solihull and Coventry. Since January 2014, the ‘Mental Health Triage Unit’ has seen police officers crewed with mental health nurses and paramedics in a responder vehicle, seven days a week. The team attend emergencies across Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry to carry out mental health assessments, often reducing the need for further police intervention. The team has attended almost 3,000 callouts to conduct assessments. This scheme has resulted in a much better collaborative approach, sharing information and working closely together. So successful has the Mental Health response become, the unit is now active across the main centres of population in the West Midlands.


Team Achievement in Excellence Award:

Mark Gough, Assistance Chief Ambulance Officer Responsible for NHS 111 and Liz Parker, NHS 111 General Manager based in Brierley Hill.

It’s over twelve months ago since West Midlands Ambulance Service stepped in to save the NHS 111 service in the region. Since then, NHS 111 has taken more than a million calls and it has consistently exceeded its performance targets and is ranked as one the best NHS 111 providers in the UK. The award is presented to all NHS 111 staff for their excellent delivery of service since stepping in in November 2013.


Peter Murtagh Inspirational Award:

Mike Duggan – paramedic based in Birmingham for his work in the City Centre Treatment Unit.

The Peter Murtagh Inspirational Award is presented in memory of a distinguished former Director of the Trust who sadly died just over a year ago. Nominations for this award were received from a large number of staff and volunteers, all fulfilling the criteria of leadership and inspiration.

The winner, Mike Duggan has been an inspirational individual since joining the service in 2011.

Mike Duggan1

Responsible for co-ordinating the Birmingham City Centre Treatment Unit (CCTU) – a largely volunteer group responsible for dealing with minor injuries in Birmingham city centre every Friday and Saturday night throughout the year. Not only does this person organise the cover which includes advanced nurse practitioners, voluntary ambulance services, police officers, WMAS staff and Street Pastors, he also gives up almost every weekend to organise and run the unit. Most of the time, the hard work behind the scenes is done whilst he is off duty from his front room at home. Our winner actually lives in South Wales and travels to the West Midlands for every shift, a journey of nearly two hours each way. He has represented the service on television and radio many times and is a first port of call for the press office when they need a reliable professional to front TV or radio interviews or play a leading part in service campaigns. He is also a regular official “tweeter” for the service.

Mike said: “I am very honoured to be awarded the first ever Peter Murtagh Award. Sadly I never had the privilege to meet Peter but I’ve only ever heard good things about the gentleman. It’s obviously a great honour to have an award named after you and similarly a great honour to be awarded the first ever one. It’s a great honour.”


Notes to Editors:

Pictures credited to “West Midlands Ambulance Service” can be downloaded from www.flickr.com/photos/officialwmas/sets




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