Ambulance Staff Celebrated at Awards

The heroic and tireless efforts of staff and volunteers to deliver outstanding patient care have been recognised at a South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) awards ceremony.

The annual staff awards acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond expectations, and the dedicated service of long-standing members of staff.

Around 200 SWASFT staff and volunteers, and members of the public, who played vital roles in responding to emergency situations, came together for the event near Bristol on Friday 16 November.

SWASFT Chief Executive, Ken Wenman, said: “3,000 times a day, within the largest ambulance service in England, our people are saving lives, reducing peoples’ suffering and pain, and dealing with the social and mental health needs of our communities. I am personally thankful to them all.”

Among those staff who accepted awards were Stroud Paramedic Mike Merrett for 50 years’ dedicated service and Trowbridge Paramedic Steve Arnold for 40 years’ devoted service.

SWASFT Paramedic Mike Merrett (centre)
SWASFT Paramedic Mike Merrett (centre)

SWASFT Chairman, Tony Fox, said: “We are saying a huge and much-deserved thank you to staff and volunteers for their commitment, dedication and professionalism throughout the year.

“I continue to be overwhelmed by the level of care and compassion given to patients and their families often at times of great distress.”

Kevin Steele, 67, from Bournemouth, gave a speech thanking SWASFT staff and members of the public for saving his life when he had a cardiac arrest while driving.

Patient speaker Kevin Steele, who survived a cardiac arrest
Patient speaker Kevin Steele, who survived a cardiac arrest

He said: “I would be dead without the actions of everyone involved. Thank you so much. You’re all superheroes.”

He marked the anniversary of the incident in November 2017 by hosting CPR training at his home.

Best friends Owen Bailey and Owen Paulley, aged 13, were commended for helping a mum when her ten-month-old baby girl was swept into the sea at Weymouth.

Owen Paulley (left) and Owen Bailey with Ken Wenman. The teenagers aided a mum when her baby was swept into water at Weymouth Harbour
Owen Paulley (left) and Owen Bailey (right) with Ken Wenman. The teenagers aided a mum when her baby was swept into water at Weymouth Harbour

The best friends, with the assistance of another passer-by, aided the mum after she dived into the water at the harbour to rescue her infant.

The duo, who had been fishing when the incident happened in August, used their rods to retrieve the mum’s possessions from the sea.

The mum and baby were taken to hospital as a precaution, but the mum only sustained minor injuries and the baby was unharmed.

Owen Paulley said: “I heard a splash and turned round, and the mum was in the water. We ran over to help and stayed with her until the paramedics arrived.”

Owen Bailey’s mum, Katy, said: “They didn’t realise they were doing anything special. They just did it. And they didn’t even mention it when they got home.”

Lee Tapper and off-duty firefighter Simon Green were also recognised for their heroic efforts when they were the first people on the scene of two separate emergencies in Pewsey, Wiltshire.