A life-saving paramedic who spends his spare time as an on-call firefighter and volunteers to help at the scene of accidents has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list.

Critical care paramedic Carl Smith, from Swaffham, has been recognised for his contribution to the NHS and the fire service.

Father-of-two Mr Smith has worked for the East of England Ambulance Service since 2000 and has held several clinical and operational posts.

He has also helped save lives as a paramedic aboard the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

But when he is not doing the day job, Mr Smith is also an on-call firefighter at Swaffham for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and also volunteers for Dereham-based Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS), where he responds from home to support crews at serious incidents.

He is also head of clinical development for emergency and critical care at the College of Paramedics and a visiting lecturer at the University of East Anglia.

He said: "It was a total surprise when I received a letter informing me of the award and I am humbled to be receiving this recognition".

Eastern Daily Press: Tom AbellTom Abell

Tom Abell, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, said: "We are incredibly proud of Carl and are thrilled that his hard work and dedication has been recognised at such a high level."

Eastern Daily Press: Chief fire officer Ceri SumnerChief fire officer Ceri Sumner (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Ceri Sumner, chief fire officer for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Not only is Carl a competent and highly skilled firefighter, his knowledge around trauma is unparalleled within the fire sector.

"We remember the significant incidents Carl has been involved in, always putting the wellbeing and health of others before his own. This award is truly deserved.”

Steve Maddams, from the senior leadership team at NARS, said Mr Smith had attended more than 2,500 life-threatening 999 calls.

He said: "His commitment to serving the community of Norfolk is truly commendable and has made a significant impact, with Carl helping to save many lives."