Chief executive Anthony March welcomes staff and the community to Cromer ambulance open day

Cromer Ambulance Open Day in aid of Nelson's Journey charity. Pictured is Chris and Jacob Minns.Pict

Cromer Ambulance Open Day in aid of Nelson's Journey charity. Pictured is Chris and Jacob Minns.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

An ambulance open event saw the union of staff, their families and the community for a day of music and fund raising for Nelson's Journey.

The event, held at Cromer ambulance station, aimed to show people the work of the emergency services by meeting staff members and exploring inside an ambulance and rapid response vehicle.

Chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service Anthony Marsh attended the event and said it was an 'opportunity to pull everybody together'.

Visitors had the chance to find out more about the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), cycle response unit, and meet community first responders.

Information stalls were also held by other emergency services and charities including Coastguard, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Red Cross and Norfolk Swift Response.

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Visitors enjoyed live music, a vintage ambulance, charity tombola and games and charity cake stalls.

Mr Marsh said: 'It was an opportunity to say thank you to the staff and their families. The role our staff fulfil can be very challenging. Ambulance staff are busier now than they have ever been, dealing with complex cases. The families supporting our staff are an important aspect, we must never forget that.'

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The ambulance service came under fire earlier this year amid reports emergency crews' response times to people suffering life-threatening medical conditions dropped dramatically in north Norfolk.

Mr Marsh said: 'East of England Ambulance is no longer the worst performing in the country.'

The chief executive said they have invested heavily in recruiting new staff and in an emergency ambulance replacement programme.

'We now have the best ambulance fleet in the country', said Mr Marsh.

'But there is still more to do. I said when I joined it will take two years to transform this station. That's not to say it will be perfect. We are absolutely doing the right thing, we are committed to doing what we need to.'

Frear Stevenson, Unison branch secretary for the ambulance service, is based at the Cromer ambulance station and said she attended to support the station and her colleagues.

'It's good to see there are a lot of different partners here. To have everyone together is a really nice thing. We don't often get the chance to open the doors to the local community so they can see what we do.'

Unplanned needs support worker at Norfolk Swift Response Leanda Middleton manned a stall at the open day.

She said: 'It's very important to make people aware of what we do.'

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