Community heroes celebrated at awards ceremony

 Tuesday 4th April 2017 – 4.45pm – Jamie Arrowsmith.


An awards ceremony to honour members of the public from across the West Midlands who have gone beyond the call of duty to help save lives and support the work of West Midlands Ambulance Service’s 4,500 staff has taken place.

The event, sponsored by Excelerate, Mills and Reeve, Higgs and Son, Zoll, University of Worcester, Coventry University and Imprint took place at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill on Thursday (March 30th), recognising 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: “The role of our volunteers is incredibly important to the success of West Midlands Ambulance Service and that is something which I am acutely aware of.

“You all do a fantastic job, I know many of you put in a tremendous amount of hours, and you have all played a part in making our ambulance service the best in the country and for that you should be very proud, as I am.

“I personally would like to thank you all for everything that you do, you are a fantastic inspiration to all of us and to our communities.”

Deputy-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Viv Astling OBE, who helped present some of the awards on the evening, said: “Funnily enough I’ve never felt safer than I do here tonight.

“We are surrounded by some incredible people who work very hard on behalf of others and it really is a great testament to yourselves.

“My belief is that people do not get enough recognition for the good work they do in this country and I only wish that could be addressed. We are surrounded by award winners tonight and that is fantastic, you, along with all of your colleagues deserve great credit for the time you give to support the ambulance service, you should be very proud.”

WMAS Chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, added: “We are gathered here tonight to celebrate good samartians. This is an evening to celebrate those who do not pass by when someone is in need – members of the public, young children and those who work as volunteers supporting the ambulance service.

“I thank you very much on behalf of West Midlands Ambulance Service for your loyalty, dedication and hard work.”


Award Citations:

Air Ambulance Award:

Sheelagh Withers, Victoria Jones, Charlotte Morgan, David Pollock, Jenny Conway, Dr Ali Hussain

On 7th March at Baker Butts Rugby Club in Coventry, a 41-year-old gentleman went into cardiac arrest. The police were sent initially as they had the closest resource and started CPR. David Pollock, a community first responder was dispatched and was quickly on scene doing very good basic life support. The ambulance crew arrived next and commenced advanced life support. Victoria Jones and Charlotte Morgan arrived a couple of minutes later in the Air Ambulance rapid response vehicle and worked with those already on scene. The police officers continued to help after the clinical team had taken over the patient treatment. The team managed to restart the patient’s heart and breathing en-route to hospital with advanced care from Dr Ali Hussain and medic Jenny Conway. This patient has subsequently made an amazing recovery.

The dispatcher Sheelagh Withers co-ordinated the multiple responses and recognised the job as a good potential for where the extra clinical skills of a doctor may be helpful. She will also have been co-ordinating with the local dispatch at Tollgate in Staffordshire so the Trust’s control rooms also played a key part in this success story.

St John Ambulance:

Philip Saunders

Whilst on duty at the Armistice Day Parade in Bedworth Philip Saunders was first on scene when a veteran collapsed. On arrival Philip found that the patient was not breathing and commenced CPR.  This was successful and the patient did not require defibrillation. Philip then monitored the patient until he was passed the care of the patient to a WMAS Crew.

Public and Other Emergency Services:

PC Simon Lawton

One evening in February 2016, PC Simon Lawton responded to reports of a man being stabbed outside the Arcadian in Birmingham. PC Lawton arrived and provided excellent first aid with limited equipment. He bandaged the patient’s wound in a difficult situation, causing him to be covered in the victim’s blood. He carried on providing vital assistance on the arrival of a solo responder and continued to help on the way to hospital.  Only once the call had been completed did PC Lawton ask for assistance for himself.

Public and Other Emergency Services:

Sarah Cooper

In February 2017 ,Sarah Cooper was sitting down for a family meal at the Royal Forrester Inn, Bewdley when a lady on an adjacent table began to choke.

The family was clearly in distress and Sarah left her own family and performed back blows and abdominal thrusts until the foreign object was expelled prior to the arrival of the ambulance. Without her quick action, the patient may have become unresponsive and stopped breathing.

Community Initiative:

Anne and Peter Turner, Wem

Anne and Peter Turner have been pivotal in placing the two Community Public Access Defibrillators for Wem Rural AED Group and Wem Town – the latter of which is now Shropshire’s most activated CPAD, having 43 call outs since its placement. Their tireless commitment and dedication have made them both unsung heroes within their community.

Community First Responders:

Russell Inman, Ettington CFR

Russell Inman has served over eight years as a CFR and also worked as a co-ordinator for the Ettington CFR group. Russell has also been instrumental in developing a shared IT system for the group as well as working on callout records and asset registers. He retires from CFR duties this year due to work commitments. ‘Being a CFR has been a way of life for me for nearly nine years’ He will be sorely missed by all in his local community.

Community First Responders

Rob Nichols, Worcester CFR

Rob Nichols has been an active CFR in Worcester for ten years. Whilst Rob was working at the Environment Agency in Bristol he was involved in the resuscitation of a lady in cardiac arrest.

Rob noted at the time it was unusual for him not to have his trusty CFR kit bag with him but was pleased he was still putting the training West Midlands Ambulance Service had given him to good use.

The lady was in her mid-thirties and was reported to have been brought round and was talking with her mother.

Chief Officers Commendation

Kelly McKeown, Penkridge

Community First Responder Kelly McKeown impressed the responding crew in Penkridge by her actions, they stated that if it wasn’t for her actions before they arrived then there would not have been a ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) and the patient would not have survived.

CFR Volunteer of the Year

Terry Flower, Solihull CFR

Terry is a CFR who operates in the Solihull area. Terry is a fantastic member of Fast Aid, not only does he often complete over 100 hours a month on call, but he actively takes part in the training of new and existing CFRs in Fast Aid by giving up a lot of time to take new staff out on buddy shifts.

He is the largest fund raiser within his charity, enabling it to better support WMAS with up to date equipment. He also assists WMAS Community Response Manager Andy Jeynes in defibrillator training and leads many Heart Start training sessions where members of the general public are trained to not only provide lifesaving skills, but to reduce unnecessary pressure on the ambulance service and receiving hospitals by educating the general public on when to call an ambulance. His passion and dedication is infectious to those he trains and inspires.

Photographs of the above are available for download from

To download:

  • Left-click on the appropriate gallery (defined by geographical area)
  • Left-click on the appropriate thumbnail to reveal a full-size picture.
  • Left-click on the download icon (downward pointing arrow to horizontal line) if present .From the resultant list of picture file sizes, select “original”. Select “Save” or “Save As”.
  • If there is no download icon, right-click on the picture and select “Save Picture As”
  • Please credit Emagica/WMAS


Leave a Reply