Royal invite a once in a lifetime event for Stalham First Responder

Linda Darby, 49, became a community first responder in 2005.

Linda Darby, 49, became a community first responder in 2005. - Credit: Archant

A local life-saver has received an invitation to a Royal Garden Party in recognition of more than 10 years volunteer work.

Linda Darby, 49, became a community first responder in 2005 and has been co-ordinator of the Stalham and Smallburgh Community First Responder (CFR) group in Norfolk for the last seven years.

She received a 10 years' volunteer service award from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) last year and will now attend the Royal event in May.

Her partner Mervyn Hardingham has also volunteered for the group for more than 10 years.

Mrs Darby said: 'I used to belong to St John Ambulance and I saw a sign about CFRs in 2005 and it started from there. I've lost count the number of hours I have volunteered! The best bit is helping people in the community where you live. There are people living today because of what we have done for them.

'I was a bit apprehensive when I got the garden party invitation, but I'm looking forward to it. It is a once in a lifetime thing to go to.'

Community first responders are trained to perform basic life support and attend 999 calls such as cardiac arrests, diabetes emergencies and people who are choking, having a seizure or suffering from breathing problems and chest pain. Because they are responding to emergencies in their communities, they often are first on scene before the arrival of an ambulance or rapid response vehicle.

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Stalham and Smallburgh CFRs attend calls as far as Bacton, Hoveton, Ludham, Potter Heigham, Sutton, Catfield and Hickling. The group has seven active volunteers.

For more information about getting involved, visit: or email

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