The long service and achievements of South East Coast Ambulance Service staff, volunteers and members of the public have been recognised at the first of the Trust’s annual awards ceremonies.

The awards, primarily covering Kent, took place at The Orangery, Turkey Mill, Maidstone on the evening of Thursday 7 October.

The ceremony saw long-service award winners gather in person for the awards while commendation award winners joined in the celebrations virtually.

Queen’s Medals for Long Service and Good Conduct were presented by The Queen’s representative, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, George Jessel, with attendees also recognised for 20, 30 and an amazing 40 years’ NHS service.

There was also a special recognition award for former paramedic Robin Friday – one of the original six ambulance personnel chosen to undergo formal cardiac training under the tutorship of the then Dr Douglas Chamberlain. This year marks 50 years since Robin became what is considered to be one of the UK’s first paramedics when he completed his training in Brighton in 1971.

Chief Executive Commendations were presented to individuals across a number of categories including Exceeding Expectations, Clinical Excellence and Quality Improvement, Community or Voluntary Service and, for the first time, a category for COVID-19 Response.

There was also a Public Commendation for on-call Kent fire-fighters Mark Rustage and James Knight and SECAmb Ambulance Technician, Charlie Speers, for their quick thinking when they sprang into action when off duty to save the life of 5-year-old Lila Page from Rainham. The Trust was delighted Lila was also able to join in the celebrations virtually with her family.

SECAmb Chief Executive Philip Astle said: “I was delighted to be able to celebrate the achievements of every single award recipient. The dedication shown to the ambulance service over so many years by our long service award winners is truly humbling and the amazing stories behind each commendation winner highlights just a few examples of the fantastic work which goes on 24 hours a day at SECAmb.

“I would like to thank all our award winners and everyone linked to SECAmb for their commitment at what continues to be an extremely challenging and busy time.”

Full details of all long service and award winners can be found below.

Two further ceremonies will take place on 14 and 21 October in Surrey and Sussex.

Queen’s Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct

Adam Ormrod – Critical Care Paramedic Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust

Alan Hougham – Paramedic Practitioner, Ashford

Angela King – Ambulance Technician, Ashford

Darren Burdett – Paramedic, Paddock Wood

David Hawkins – Operating Unit Manager and Critical Care Paramedic – Gravesend

David Shoubridge – Paramedic, Ashford

David Stevenson – Ambulance Technician, Worthing

Fiona Turney – Ambulance Technician, Ashford

Francesca Jones – Operations Manager and Paramedic Practitioner, Paddock Wood

Gary Balderston – Critical Care Paramedic, Sittingbourne

Gaye Campion – Dispatch Team Leader, Coxheath

Graham Picknell – Paramedic Practitioner, Ashford

John Sweeney – Operational Team Leader, Ashford

Jonathan Hope – Ambulance Technician, Thanet

Rosie Francklin – former Clinical Supervisor, Coxheath

Ross Milburn – Ambulance Technician, Sheppey

Sharon Theoff – Operational Team Leader, Thanet

Sophie Butler – Ambulance Technician, Dartford

Stephen Elliott – Paramedic, Ashford

Timothy Roots – Ambulance Technician, Ashford

Tobie Daniels – Ambulance Technician, Ashford

10 Year’s Volunteer Service

Alex Hill – Community First Responder, Sittingbourne

Melanie Carter – Community First Responder, Hoo

20 Years’ NHS Service

Deanne Carmichael – 111 Clinical Advisor, Ashford

Jolene Tovey – Emergency Medical Advisor, Coxheath

Kelli Sullivan – Operating Unit Administrator, Ashford

30 Years’ NHS Service

Claire Hogan – Clinical Safety Navigator, Coxheath

Julie Hall – Paramedic, Paddock Wood

Mary (Berni) Cook – 111 Clinical Advisor, Ashford

Theresa McDonagh – EOC Practice Development, Coxheath

Wendy Pearson – Operational Team Leader, Ashford

40 Years’ NHS Service

Jonathan Hunnisett – Paramedic Practitioner, Thanet

Lynne Holmes, Dispatch Team Leader, Coxheath

Special Achievement Award

Robin Friday, Gravesent – in recognition of 50 Years of the UK paramedic profession (see above)

Chief Executive Commendations

Exceeding Expectations:

Clare McLaughlin, Health Records Manager, Paddock Wood – For taking on additional responsibility for a number of important issues regarding the Trust’s clinical audit system and contract reviewing.

Michael Bell, Trust wide, Ashford – For his dedication and tireless work setting up systems and programmes to support the delivery of the Trust’s COVID-19 vaccination effort

Asmina Islam Chowdhury – Trust Programme Lead, Equality Diversity and InclusionFor her commitment to her role as Programme Lead, Equality Diversity and Inclusion – her support of BAME colleagues throughout the pandemic including work on SECAmb’s BAME risk assessment process was cited as best practice across the region.  

Jenna Gibson – Paramedic, Medway – for the work she undertook to see an idea to improve awareness for hearing-impaired people develop into the introduction of a badge which can be worn by staff to alert colleagues and the public to their often-hidden disability.

COVID-19 Response:

Kent Fire and Rescue Service – represented by Watch Manager Ian Collins – for going above and beyond the expectations of a good blue-light partner.

Throughout the pandemic, KFRS have provided additional support to SECAmb including drivers, a manager to support the establishment and running of a warehouse and a very considerable amount of knowledge and experience.

Clinical Excellence and Quality Improvement:

Jim Walmsley – Critical Care Paramedic, Paddock Wood – Jim Walmsley used his knowledge and expertise to drive an initiative to introduce a suite of medications for SECAmb to support patients at the end of their lives.

Kelly Wolstenholme – 111 Clinical Advisor, Ashford – For her work in assisting the development of annual key skills training for 999 and 111 clinicians – the first time training was run jointly across both services. Kelly, who has a personal interest in CPD, immediately exceeded expectations by going above and beyond in developing a matrix of key skills content, in collaboration with her clinical colleagues.

Community or Voluntary Service:

Leigh Westwood – Community First Responder, Crowborough – for being instrumental in the development of the Trust’s crew welfare vehicles. Leigh single-handedly developed a rota for CFRs to crew the vehicles providing at their peak 12-hour availability of a number of vehicles which travelled across the Trust’s region providing refreshments to crews working tirelessly through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Joyce – Community First Responder, Westgate-on-sea – For donating hundreds of hours in support of the logistical requirements for the Trust, Steve took to the road delivering equipment and becoming the CFR logistics lead. Steve designed, created and implemented a robust system for both new CFR training courses and for kitting out our new responders.

Denver Giles – Community First Responder, Ashford – Denver and his positive attitude provided some light relief for staff during some of the darkest days of the pandemic as he and colleagues staffed the crew welfare vehicles across the Trust. Unable to respond on the front line, Denver gave up hundreds of hours of his own time and covered thousands of miles delivering tea, coffee, snacks and a smile – always accompanied by a clever twist on a well-known song.

Public Commendation:

Marc Rustage, James Knight and Charlie Speers – on-call Kent fire-fighters Mark Rustage and James Knight and SECAmb Ambulance Technician, Charlie Speers, for their quick thinking when they sprang into action when off duty to save the life of 5-year-old Lila Page from Rainham. The Trust was delighted Lila was also able to join in the celebrations virtually with her family.