Excellence in the Community Awards

Thursday 22nd April 2018 – 4.30pm – 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 5,000 staff has taken place.

The event, sponsored by Zoll, Growers United, Cardiac Science and WEL Medical, took place at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill last Thursday (March 15th), 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: “Our volunteers do a great job, saving saving lives across the West Midlands every single day, and I want to say a big thank you to all of you for your efforts.

“Every single volunteer plays a key role in making West Midlands Ambulance Service the success that it is and I am immensely proud of all of you for the effort you put in.

“There is an absolute determination within the Trust to improve further, and our volunteers will play an essential role in making sure that can happen.”

High Sheriff of the West Midlands, John Hudson OBE, who helped present some of the awards on the evening, said: “It is a great honour to be here this evening and it has inspired me to want to learn first aid, at the very least!

“There is so much expertise in the room tonight, so many acts of kindness and bravery and it is very humbling.

“You are doing the things that really count in society and we’ve heard many heartwarming stories this evening about things you have achieved to help people in their hour of need. I just want to say thank you very much indeed for what you do, you are all wonderful people.”

WMAS Chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, added: “This is a very special event that allows us to recognise some very special people.

“The time that people give in volunteering can never be underestimated, even more so as we live in a society now, where people just don’t have free time.

“Here with us tonight, we have a group of people who are prepared to give up their free time, and give it to the people in the communities in which we serve. “We can never repay you for that, but I would just like to thank you all for what you do on a daily basis, year after year, your efforts are truly appreciated.


Award Citations:

Air Ambulance Award:

Claire Howatt, Thomas Merrimen, Marc Cutler, Aidan Brown, Matthew Harris (Drayton Manor), Josh Briggs (Drayton Manor)

A 999 call was made from Drayton Manor Park employee Josh Briggs after he found his 17-year-old colleague Ben Culfe in cardiac arrest.

With excellent support from the call taker, another Drayton Manor employee – Matthew Harris – commenced CPR whilst a second colleague fetched a defibrillator. Two shocks were delivered, which together with the CPR, ensured Ben’s heart had been successfully restarted before the first ambulance crew arrived. However, Ben was still in an agitated state as more resources arrived on scene, including Ian Jones and Karen Baker on the Midlands Air Ambulance from Staffordshire, just minutes after the initial 999 call.

Karen and Ian administered sedative drugs but unfortunately the medication did not have the desired effected.

Further support arrived in the shape of Dr Paul Dias on the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford who anaesthetised Ben in order to stabilise his condition before he was airlifted to Royal Stoke University Hospital. Thankfully, Ben went on to make a full recovery.

Air Ambulance Award:

Charlie Braid, Maggie Setterfield, Stuart Askew

Charlie Braid was at school in Hereford in a games lesson as part of his work experience when 15-year-old Ethan Askew suddenly collapsed in a cardiac arrest. Help arrived first in the shape of receptionist Maggie Setterfield who started doing chest compressions.  At the same time Ethan’s father Stuart, who also works at the school, arrived to the sight of his son having CPR.

While Stuart helped Maggie by providing rescue breaths, he remembered the school’s new defibrillator.  It had just delivered two shocks when the ambulance arrived and the crew took over; shortly after they discovered a pulse and CPR was ceased. Ethan was moved on to the air ambulance and flown to Bristol Hospital with Stuart also travelling.  There he was reunited with Ethan’s mum Georgia, who had been taken to hospital with a police escort.

Ethan had been sedated but within 48 hours was out of his induced coma and sitting up in bed talking!  I’m thrilled to say that Ethan has gone on to make a full recovery after a rare genetic narrowing of the left coronary artery had been operated on.

St John Ambulance

Curtis Molloy, Thomas Strachan

In April last year a large fire at a care home in Tamworth led to 25 residents having to be evacuated and rehoused. Curtis Molloy and Thomas Strachan were the first two St John volunteers to step forward and they helped to assist residents from the home in being relocated. They also volunteered their time to assist in the aforementioned winter weather and are always prepared to help, even with cases that are not in their locality.

Public and Other Emergency Services:

Sarah Cooper

Partners PC Stacie Ferran and PC Stefan Wolkowicz were both off duty and out enjoying a meal with their daughter in August 2017 when they were alerted to a fellow diner who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Stacie and Stefan acted quickly and immediately began CPR whilst another bystander went to fetch a defibrillator. Thanks to their quick-thinking, a ROSC was achieved on arrival of the ambulance crew and the patient was conveyed to hospital having been given the very best chance of survival.

Public Commendation:

Gareth Williams and Daniel Moffat

A serious RTC on the A5 in South Staffordshire saw a car set on fire, with the driver still inside. Daniel Moffat and Gareth Williams were the first two people on scene and without a fire extinguisher to help, had no choice but to force the door open with any tools they could find and their bare hands, to drag the unresponsive woman out. Once clear of the car they quickly moved her as far away as possible before the arrival of ambulance staff, by which time the car was well ablaze. The Merit Doctor who attended the scene was clear that Daniel and Gareth’s actions saved the woman’s life that day, so we now ask them to step forward to be presented with their commendations.

Public Commendation:

Craig Nicholls and Mandy Banham

Robert Whissel and his wife Sheila were walking home from the newsagents in Barnt Green last March when Robert unexpectedly collapsed and fell to the pavement. With no previous cardiac history, this was obviously an alarming situation which later turned out to be caused by a complete heart blockage.

Luckily for Robert, bystanders Craig Nicholas and Mandy Banham were nearby and acted quickly to deliver vital first aid and CPR. Robert has now gone on to make a full recovery.

Community First Responders

Martin Hill, Bridgnorth CFR

Martin Hill has served Bridgnorth district as a CFR for 12 years. Throughout that time his incredible time commitment and clinical ability has meant that when a CFR is sent to a 999 call in the Bridgnorth District, it will usually be answered by him first. He has attended multiple cardiac arrests where his efforts to speed up the chain of survival have resulted in many ROSCs.

Martin provides fantastic assistance and service to WMAS and the community would be much worse off without his support and education he provides as a CFR. As a retired firefighter, Martin has dedicated his entire life to helping others,

Community First Responders

Fay Cooper, Rugeley and District CFRs

Fay Cooper is the founding member of Rugeley and District CFRs having actively recruited volunteers and set the group up as a charity.

Over the years, Fay has provided a constant level of responding hours, arranged fund-raising events, actively engaged the group within the community and helped to raise its profile – even during maternity leave!

Without Fay’s initial hard work and continued efforts behind the scenes, the group would not be in the strong position it finds itself in today, so please step forward to receive an award in recognition of your efforts.

CFR Volunteer of the Year

Ben East, FastAid CFR (pictured on press release)

CFR Ben East has shown a truly exceptional dedication to his Community, to West Midlands Ambulance Service and to his charity – FastAid. Last year, Ben spent over 1,500 hours booked on call and attended 236 emergency calls.

In addition, he is an Area Co-Ordinator for FastAid which involves mentoring, encouraging and supporting six team members. As a result of this, FastAid provided over 2,500 hours of on call cover for WMAS in 2017, attending more than 350 emergency calls. Ben is an extremely proactive member of the group and also supports his Community Response Manager by providing HeartStart courses in and around the region. Whenever the group acquires new transport, Ben has the skills to modify, equip and complete the necessary adaptations to the highest standard whilst also attending training sessions when there is a new intake of students.

Photographs of the above are available for download from http://www.flickr.com/photos/officialwmas/sets/

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