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Responder awards

Press office - 21 July 2010

Three Community First Responders who attended more than 500 calls each in just one year were among those recognised for their efforts at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (SECAmb) Community First Responder Awards.

Alan Deakin, from Brighton, (653 calls), Phil Ashton from Peacehaven, (580 calls) and Paul Armstrong from Dover, (512 calls) attended the life-threatening emergencies in their local areas between April 2009 and March 2010.

The trio joined fellow responders from SECAmb’s Kent, Sussex and Surrey region at the annual awards, held at the Felbridge Hotel in East Grinstead, on Friday 16 July. (See below for full list of winners).

Trained and supported by SECAmb, community responders are dedicated volunteers who provide emergency care in their local areas in the minutes before an ambulance arrives.

The Trust operates more than 170 responder teams across its region. Between them they assisted the Trust with close to 14,000 Category A calls between April 2009 and July 2010. More than 800 of these calls were to reports of a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

SECAmb Chief Executive Paul Sutton said: “I was delighted to meet so many dedicated volunteers at the awards and I’d like to thank them all for their efforts. Community First Responders provide an amazing service to their local communities. Each and every responder should be extremely proud of their achievements.”

Other responders honoured on the night included Colin Burden from Alfriston, Sussex, who was awarded the Exceptional Service Award for his actions when he came across a serious road traffic accident in December 2009. Despite challenging circumstances and the fact that responders are not sent to RTCs, Colin was unfazed. He began triaging patients, liaised with control room staff and supported ambulance clinicians at the scene.

Team awards were given to the Crawley, Sevenoaks and Woking schemes while Fundraising Awards were snapped up by the Deal, Aylesham and Horsham teams.

Frank Doel from Selsey, West Sussex, was presented with the Long Service Award in recognition of his continuous service as a responder.

SECAmb Responder Network Lead Jo Shakir said: “We’re extremely proud of the life-saving service community responders provide across our region. It’s right that we’re able to thank them for their tireless dedication to their vital role.”

Anyone who would like more information about becoming a community responder or on schemes already operating in their local area should contact the SECAmb Community Responder Team office on 01273 897861 or email:

Full list of award winners:

Long Service Award: Frank Doel, Selsey, (West Sussex) - Frank was awarded in recognition of his continuous service as a Community First Responder. Having been a member of the response network more or less since its conception, he has worked tirelessly to develop his local scheme. Given this remote location, the work that he carries out for SECAmb is invaluable.

Team Awards: Crawley, (West Sussex), Sevenoaks, (Kent) and Woking, (Surrey) - SECAmb has always been very proud of its Community First Responders and there are now over 170 teams throughout the South East. To highlight any one in particular proved impossible and so we decided to honour three teams for their exceptional dedication and commitment to their communities throughout 2009/10.

Innovation Award: Stuart Hill, Horsham, (West Sussex) - This award is for new and innovative thinking and the development of ideas that not only help the local community, but also fulfil a vital need. Stuart identified the need for a relatives’ guide to his local hospital. The guide has now been produced and includes a range of essential information including directions, parking information and details of other supporting services.

Exceptional Service Award: Colin Burden, Alfriston, (East Sussex) - Colin was faced with one of the most challenging situations possible. On an icy day in December, he came across a mini bus full of school children which had left the road hitting two pedestrians in its path. Not only did he triage all the patients and liaise with EDC but also supported the ambulance crew when they arrived at the scene.

New Team Award: Eastbourne, (East Sussex) - During 2009/10 the Eastbourne team recruited a high number of new responders and achieved considerable fundraising success. They also attended numerous public events to create awareness of the scheme in their area.

Community Award: Rob Page, East Dean, (East Sussex) - Rob lives in a very rural area where it is difficult to identify individual addresses and where there is little or no street lighting. In order to help locate an emergency call he has documented the location of more than 2,000 properties in his local area to support him in his work.

Co-responder Award: Shoreham Fire and Rescue Team, (West Sussex) - This co-responder team is a shining example of how joint working can deliver excellent clinical results. They continue to be ambassadors and promoting the work of co responders throughout the fire service.

Fundraising Awards: Deal, (Kent), Aylesham, (Kent), Horsham, (West Sussex).

The Fundraising Award was given to three teams all of which have shown considerable initiative and determination. Despite the current economic climate they have continued to raise thousands of pounds in order to develop their teams.

Partnership Award: Dougie Coombes, Sussex Heart Charity – Dougie was recognised for his continuous support and development of staff at Gatwick Airport. With in excess of 60 defibrillators on site, delivering the basic life support training requires true dedication. He is also trains at various other Public Access Defibrillator sites across Sussex.

Ambassador Award: Billingshurst, (West Sussex) – The well-established Billingshurst team were recognised for their tireless work to increase the awareness of Community First Responders within their community. They have also linked with local organisations to develop several new Public Access Defibrillator sites.

Team Leader Award – The following exceptional individuals were recognised.

Phil and Joy Ashton from Peacehaven, (East Sussex) – This husband and wife team were recognised for their continued support in their community and for their work with fellow teams in their surrounding area.

John Kempton, Oxted, (Surrey) - for the expansion of his team, links with adjoining teams and fantastic fundraising efforts.

Gerald Farrow, Medway, (Kent) - for the support and training he has provided and for having developed the Medway team to such an extent, the decision was taken to split the team into three different areas to encourage more growth. Gerald is now the Team Leader for the Chatham area.

Community First Responder Awards: Alan Deakin, Brighton, Phil Ashton, Peacehaven and Paul Armstrong, Dover - for the exceptional number of calls they undertook in 2009/10.

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