Trust thanks volunteers for heroic efforts

Thursday 4th April 2019 – 8.15am – 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 Staffordshire University, J. Tomlinson, Zoll Medical, Coventry University, Cardiac Science and Defib Shop took place at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill last Thursday (March 28th), 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: “We are incredibly proud of the high level of performance we achieve as an ambulance service, of the fact we are the only ambulance service to be rated ‘outstanding’ and of the high level of patient care we achieve day in, day out.

“That would not be possible without the help of our volunteers who do an incredible job in supporting us.

“I know how hard you all work, the amount of your time you give up – all to ensure patients receive help as soon as possible, and for that I am extremely grateful.

“This awards ceremony is a chance to say thank you and recognise those who have gone above and beyond what is expected with some truly heroic and brave acts for which you deserve great recognition. Well done to all of our award winners and everyone who has volunteered to support West Midlands Ambulance Service during the last 12 months.”

High Sheriff of Worcestershire, Cassian Roberts, who helped to present some of the awards on the evening, said: “It is always inspiring to be with people who serve and it sometimes surprises me that the majority of people who inhabit this world, do not realise exactly what you do.

“You are the glue which makes this country great. You don’t do it for the money, you do it because it is the right thing to do and would like to congratulate all of you and say thank you.”

WMAS Chairman, Sir Graham Meldrum, added: “I think a book should be published, a book that records all of the amazing things that our volunteers do. Those who have put their lives on the line, those who give up their own time day in, day out to serve the people of the West Midlands.

“It would be incredible to compile all of the fantastic stories we hear about the incredible things you do, and sit down and read it all, allowing people to fully understand just how valuable volunteers are to the ambulance service, each and every day.”


Pictured (left to right): Chief Executive Officer Anthony Marsh, life-savers Ian Lancaster and James Robinson with cardiac arrest survivor Lisa Turrell, High Sheriff of Worcestershire Cassian Roberts.

Award Citations:

Air Ambulance Award: Robert Davies

It isn’t every day you find yourself treating a patient inside a pipe which is precariously balanced at the top of a hill, but that is what happened to Robert Davies in June when attending a call in Ludlow. After carrying out a risk assessment with his crew mate, Robert decided it was safe enough for him to climb down the pipe to be able to assess and begin treating the patient. Rob remained inside the pipe for about 20 minutes whilst excellent teamwork from the other crews on scene and the air ambulance, ensured everything was ready to extricate the patient safely and in a timely manner. Rob showed tremendous courage, but also a high level of professionalism and thought of mind, to not only make sure he was able to help the patient in a difficult situation, but also to do so in a safe way without putting himself at risk. Once out, the patient was airlifted to hospital where he was able to begin his recovery from a head injury.

St John Ambulance: Luke Hawkins

Luke Hawkins was travelling to Edgbaston Cricket Ground by train in August last year where he was volunteering as part of his St John role. Whilst travelling, he was alerted to a man who was apparently snoring slowly in his seat. Luke quickly realised the man was in cardiac arrest and immediately commenced CPR which he carried on for six minutes. He also instructed a station guard to fetch a defibrillator and subsequently delivered one shock to the patient which resulted in a return of spontaneous circulation. When the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care paramedic arrived, the patient was sat up and talking – a truly fantastic outcome.

Public and Other Emergency Services: Ian Lancaster and James Robinson

Having completed two exercise classes at the gym, Lisa Turrell was enjoying a well-deserved coffee in the café, when tragedy struck and she suffered a cardiac arrest. David Lloyd staff members James Robinson and Ian Lancaster immediately reacted, grabbing the on-site defibrillator and beginning full CPR with rescue breaths. Along with the CPR, James and Ian delivered two defib shocks, before further chest compressions led to Lisa’s heart successfully being restarted shortly before the arrival of paramedics. Lisa was taken to hospital and went to have a quadruple heart bypass, but thankfully she went on to make a full recovered well.

Public and Other Emergency Services: PC Gemma Need, PC Christopher Pitt

A serious assault in May last year left a 21-year-old man in cardiac arrest. Upon arrival of a rapid response paramedic at the scene, he discovered PC Gemma Need and PC Christopher Pitt from Warwickshire Police already performing excellent CPR. Whilst the two officers continued, it allowed the paramedic to carry out other important tasks, such as setting up the defibrillator, obtaining an airway and administering drugs. Following a total of six defib shocks and 45 minutes of CPR, a ROSC was gained on arrival at hospital and the men went on to make excellent progress.

Public and Other Emergency Services: PCSO Gary Marson

PCSO Gary Marson was on a routine patrol around Sedgley in February last year when a member of the public alerted him to a woman who had collapsed in a nearby street. Swiftly making his way to the scene, PCSO Marson found the woman to be cardiac arrest and quickly commenced CPR, which he continued for four minutes before the first ambulance crew arrived. Upon their arrival a first defib shock was delivered which resulted in faint respiratory effort. She was immediately transferred to Russell’s Hall Hospital for further care and I am thrilled to report went on to make a full recovery. This is another excellent example of the importance of early CPR being administered and the huge part it can play in helping save a life.

 Community First Responders: Tony Booth, David Wright, Kate Rock – Shipston-on-Stour CFRs

It was nearly 9pm on a July evening last year when a 999 call was made for a patient in cardiac arrest in Shipston. Three CFRs were first on scene, one of whom was off duty at the time, and they quickly began performing CPR. Tony Booth, Kate Rock and David Wright continued with chest compressions and also administered three shocks with a defibrillator whilst waiting for the ambulance crew to arrive. Their efforts were most definitely rewarded, as the three of them managed to successfully restart the man’s heart before he was taken to Warwick Hospital for further treatment. Even better than that, he went on to make a full recovery and is enjoying life with his family again – all down to the fantastic work of the three CFRs who attended that night.

Community First Responders: David Fellows – Featherstone CFRs

Dave Fellows thought he was responding to a routine call when attending a patient described as ‘generally unwell’. However, that couldn’t be much further from the truth as he arrived to find the patient lying on the floor and imminently about to give birth. With nobody else at the house, Dave called for backup, but this baby was not hanging around. Thankfully, Dave held his nerve to help deliver the baby, clear the airway and offer support to mum, until the arrival of the ambulance crew.

CFR Volunteer of the Year: Richard Lawton, Keele CFRs

By its very nature, being a community first responder demonstrates a willingness to give, and demonstrates someone who has the time, dedication and desire to put others before themselves. As we’ve heard throughout tonight, some take it on themselves to go one step further and take on additional roles – though I’m still trying to work out how you all find the time. The winner of the CFR of the Year Award is a volunteer co-ordinator for his CFR Group and also the secretary for the Association of Staffordshire Co-ordinators – a group which supports 32 group co-ordinators across the county. Do we think that’s enough work for a volunteer? Well we haven’t quite finished yet. Our winner also supports the CFR Community as a member of the CFR regional forum, which is a massive commitment in itself.

Now, when he’s not doing any of that, he tirelessly supports community resuscitation within the Keele and North Staffordshire area and has been part of the ongoing project to install additional defibs at Keele University we heard about earlier tonight.

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