WMAS celebrates heroic acts and long service at annual awards

Jamie Arrowsmith – Friday 16th November 2022 – 4.45pm.

Acts of courage, bravery and heroism were celebrated by West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) yesterday (Thursday) at the Trust’s annual awards ceremonies.

The Staff Long Service & Excellence Awards and Excellence in the Community Awards were held at The Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill with more than 300 guests attending each ceremony. Guests included the Deputy-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Richard Boot OBE, and the High Sheriff of the County of West Midlands, David Moorcroft OBE.

This year, 19 members of staff were recognised for having given 20 years of service to WMAS, 9 staff were commended for 25 years’ service, four received certificates for 30 years’ service and one member of staff were honoured for 35 years in the Trust. Other awards to be handed out included Chief Officer Commendations, Student Paramedic of the Year, Mentor Awards, Apprenticeship Awards, Community Initiative and Partnership Awards; St John Ambulance Awards; CFR Long Service Awards and the CFR of the Year.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “To have the chance to recognise the extraordinary efforts of our staff, volunteers and members of the public is extremely important.

“Throughout the awards ceremonies we heard many fantastic stories of people going above and beyond what is normally expected of them, all for the same reason, to provide the very best levels of care to our patients.

“I would like to say a big thank you and well done to all of our award winners, I am incredibly proud of all of them.”

Deputy-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Richard Boot OBE, said: “It is an honour and privilege to be invited to events of this nature and to see the fantastic work done by ambulance staff and volunteers. It is reassuring that there are people such as these who do so many incredible things to keep us all safe. Without their dedication and resolve, the public would be much worse off.”

High Sheriff of the County of West Midlands, David Moorcroft OBE, said: “Everyone at the awards ceremonies should feel such pride for what they do every day. They have to do uncomfortable things, but they never let it bother them because their aim is to save lives and turn tragedies into stories of recovery. It is an honour to be with them and I commend them all for what they do.

Prof Ian Cumming, WMAS Chairman, said: “It is important we recognise our staff, volunteers and members of the community because they all do remarkable things, day in, day out, despite the NHS facing some of the toughest challenges every seen. I send a huge and heartfelt thank you to them all for everything they do.”

The Trust’s awards were sponsored by University of Wolverhampton, G4S, J. Tomlinson, Wolverhampton University, Staffordshire University, Birmingham University, Coventry University, University of Worcester, University of Cumbria, Mills and Reeve.

Selected Award Winners and Citations

WMAS Outstanding Student Paramedic of the Year – Craig Winter (based at Warwick Hub)

This year’s winner has always gone above and beyond throughout his student paramedic journey, not just for his patients but also in his clinical ability and professional development.

Always demonstrating best practice for his patients, our winner is described by his nominee as ‘one of the most dynamic and quick-thinking staff members I have had the pleasure of working with. Someone who always gives 100% to patient care and by working with him, you can see why he is popular with colleagues and his patients. He can have good clinical discussions whilst remaining critical and constructive and demonstrates the Trust’s values better than anyone I have worked with’.

Our winner passed his paramedic degree with a distinction, is enthusiastic, spoken very highly of by his peers and now a paramedic at Warwick Hub, seems set for a long and successful career.

Patient Transport Service Mentor of the Year – Kiron Bhamra (based in Stafford)

Our inaugural winner of this award is someone who is always willing to support all new starters into the non-emergency operations centre, help guide them through their initial training programme and allocate desks and the appropriate staff, to facilitate training and oversee final sign off.

Described as a role model for the team, our winner constantly supports the team at Tollgate, ensuring everyone is up to date with any new policies and procedures to ensure compliance, as well as updating on any changes that are made.

She actively encourages learning within the team and will support time away from their roles to enable them to fulfil training dates required with the team at Tollgate having all been given the opportunity to do internal courses appropriate to their role, such as Engaging Managers and external courses such as NVQ’s in Mental Health.

Integrated and Emergency Urgent Care Mentor of the Year – Lyndsey Parkes (based in Brierley Hill)

A call assessor for longer than five years, our IEUC Mentor of the Year took on the responsibility at the start of the pandemic of mentoring new 999 call assessors, something she did for a number of months, being flexible, accommodating and overall very supportive to the new staff and training team.
She was always someone that the team could call on for help, with new and old staff for support, and has never turned down a request for help.
Most recently during the new recruitment to IEUC, our winner has again stood up to support all of the new staff.  She actively maintains contact with the team on her availability and flexibility to support new starters and the feedback received from staff is that the support she gives is fantastic, helping to build confidence with the feedback and guidance she offers.

Mentor of the Year – Emma Baxter (based at Hollymoor)

Our mentor of the year was nominated by one of her students, who tells the story of why she is a deserving winner perfectly.

‘I first approached Emma Baxter knowing that she would be open, critical and honest in her feedback of me, both clinically and personally. I needed help as I was aware I was struggling with being new into the role and taking a little longer than my peers to feel competent and confident. Emma facilitated the help I needed, helped me believe in myself, allowed me to lead and attend all jobs within my scope of practice to gain confidence and always give appropriate constructive feedback after a job.

Emma is extremely approachable, only ever a message away if I feel that I have had a bad clinical shift or wish to clarify a clinical point. She has always been proactive and supportive with me regarding my portfolio, actively helping me find competencies to get signed, as well as discussing questions related with the competences.

Emma deserves this award due to her dedication she has shown me and others throughout my AAP placement. She is an extremely knowledgeable mentor and an asset to Hollymoor Hub. Quite simply, without her, I would not be in the position, nor the clinician, I am today.’

Diversity and Inclusion Award – Ash Deakins (based at Dudley and pictured below)

This year’s winner has a genuine interest in people and their inclusion, supporting staff both locally and nationally to embrace diversity and ensuring a platform is provided for staff to feel included within their ambulance hub.

Described by many as a role model, our winner goes above and beyond to promote fairness in the workplace, promote a harmonious workplace that is an environment for everyone to be happy in their work and represents the Trust nationally, including within the National LGBTQ+ Network.

The lead of the Trust’s LGBTQ+ Network, our winner promotes learning and awareness by arranging free access to online CPD for clinical staff to address the barriers that minority groups face when accessing health care.

St John Ambulance Award – Jade Asson

Jade Asson is the District Lead for Staffordshire, Shropshire and Wolverhampton St John, as well as Warwickshire and Coventry. That’s quite a large patch to look after I’m sure you will agree!

Jade has played an integral part of the unit responder program, organising all of the training and ensuring a quality of service is at the highest standards.

This is all on top of being a senior nurse in a busy A and E department.

Being as busy as she is, I think we should be honoured that Jade Asson has managed to squeeze in time to attend tonight, but indeed she has, so give her a big round of applause as she comes to the front please.

St John Ambulance Award – Brad Pritchard and Lisa Humphreys

Brad Pritchard and Lisa Humphreys were at a unit meeting for Oswestry Unit Responders when they were assigned to an extremely difficult case, a paediatric cardiac arrest.

They arrived on scene quickly and began basic life support before quickly being backed up by an ambulance crew.

Brad and Lisa continued to assist, working as part of the overall team, providing care in a professional manner.

Incidents such as this are extremely traumatic, but they remained calm throughout, doing everything they could to assist, including Brad travelling in the ambulance as the child was taken to hospital.

Brad and Lisa did everything in their power that night to give the child the best chance of surviving, for which we ask them to come and join us at the front to collect their award.

Nick Freeman – Chief Officer’s Commendation

Nick Freeman has been a Community First Responder for ten years, initially starting in the Shrewsbury and Rae Valley scheme, before he moved to Telford where he became co-ordinator.

A recruitment drive took place earlier this year to attract new CFRs to join the ranks and keen to put all of his experience to good use, Nick quickly volunteered to assist with buddy shifts for newcomers, some of which were as far away as Worcester.

For not only helping many patients during the last ten years but also being prepared to assist newcomers, we ask Nick Freeman to come forwards and receive your commendation.

Jean Harris – Chief Officer’s Commendation (pictured below)

Jean Harris completed her training in 2013 and immediately threw herself into her duties as a Community First Responder in and around Nuneaton.

Completing more than her required hours every month, she soon became a familiar face to attending ambulance crews and always had a smile on her face.

Nothing was ever too much trouble for Jean who enjoyed helping people, supporting the local community with CPR training and raising funds for her scheme.

Unfortunately, Jean had to hang up her stethoscope earlier this year due to health reasons but tonight we have a chance to thank her for everything she has done with a Chief Officer’s Commendation.

Ash O’Malley – Chief Officer’s Commendation

Ash O’Malley began life as a CFR back in 2011 and is a scheme co-ordinator for Hereford.

In fact until a recent recruitment drive he was the only active CFR in his area, providing care to the local community as often as he could.

His commitment to Hereford has always seen him go above and beyond to help patients in their hour of need and following a boost to scheme numbers, he is now helping to guide new team members as they start their journey in community response.

Derek Chebsey – Community First Responder of the Year (pictured below)

This year’s winner joined FastAid Black Country in 2013 and ever since has always shown the highest degree of commitment to the role of the Community First Responder.

He is currently the Chairperson of the Charity and conducts this appointment with true professionalism, always going above and beyond to support the Trust and his Community.

A family man, he still finds time to mentor new members and acts as the co-ordinator for his scheme as well as holding a position on the Regional Forum, representing all CFR schemes operating in the Black Country.

Despite all the Lockdown restrictions, he continued with his voluntary role and responded to emergency cases on behalf of the Trust. However, we must also thank him for everything he did during Covid in his paid role as an NHS Nurse.

This year’s CFR Volunteer of the Year, who I should add prefers to be known as Dec, is Derek Chebsey.


Notes to Editors:

Imaged from the awards ceremony can be found and downloaded from – https://www.flickr.com/photos/officialwmas/albums

Main picture: Student Paramedic of the Year Craig Winter with WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh.

Please credit West Midlands Ambulance Service for any images used.

Leave a Reply