Queen’s honour for Stalham heroes

Members of Stalham First Responder Group which has been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntar

Members of Stalham First Responder Group which has been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - Credit: Archant

They can be the difference between life and death, providing emergency care to critically ill patients. And now the vital work of Stalham First Responders have been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Equivalent to being made an MBE, it is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. Members will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson later this summer.

First responders are trained by the East of England Ambulance Service to treat casualties with breathing difficulties, chest pains, fitting, diabetic shock, stroke, unconsciousness and other life threatening situations and to use oxygen therapy and defibrillators.

Group coordinator Linda Darby attended garden parties at Buckingham Palace last month with fellow responders Chris Hole and Mary Beck.

Treasurer Tim Thirst and his wife Tricia have been invited to the Queen's Patron's Lunch on June 12, which will see The Mall transformed for its largest ever street party to celebrate the monarch's 90th birthday.

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Mr Thirst said: 'We are immensely proud of this honour. We are also rewarded each time we are able to help someone when they are most in need. If the ambulance service does not have the resources to get to the patient in the next few minutes then we are available within at most three or four miles.'

In a typical year volunteer responders will be on call for 6000 hours, travel a total of 5000 miles and attend to 170 patients.

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Stalham Town Council chairman Duncan Edmonds said: 'I wish to congratulate Stalham First Responders on receiving the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2016.

'The town and its environs is extremely fortunate in having this group of people give their time and commitment toward providing this voluntary public service which greatly enhances the quality of immediate care available to people suffering from accidents or acute illness and which can be life saving.'

UNISON branch secretary for the East of England Ambulance Service Fraer Stevenson said: 'It's really lovely to see the Stalham First Responder group recognised for the vital work they carry out in north Norfolk. First responders work closely with our front-line crews and are very much part of our ambulance family. Volunteering in this way has saved lives and I admire them greatly for their compassion and commitment - assisting others in their hour of need.'

Anyone interested in training as a First Responder in the Stalham should email timothythirst@aol.com

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