Sheringham ex-serviceman’s ambulance wait triggers first aid packs pledge

An octet of Sheringham Samaritans are rallying round to provide dozens of 'angel packs' in town shops - to ease the suffering of people who are waiting for ambulances to arrive.

The ladies - who call themselves Sisters in Spirit - have been stung into action by the plight of an elderly man who had to lie on a street in biting cold for 46 minutes in the town as he waited for paramedics.

The East of England Ambulance Trust said the ex-serviceman - believed to be in his late 70s - had a 'minor hand injury', meaning the target for getting an ambulance to him was 60 minutes.

But Diane Evans and her sister Debbie Nunn, who was at the scene and tried to get blankets from nearby shops on Station Approach and Station Road, were not impressed.

And they are determined to provide shops, pubs and tourist attractions in the town with 'comfort' packs to keep people warm and safe while they wait for medical help to arrive.

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Mrs Evans, of Nelson Road, Sheringham, said: 'I don't believe 46 minutes is an acceptable time to wait for an ambulance - whatever the injury.

'If it had been my dad lying on the pavement like that, I would have been mortified.

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'Debbie was there and ran into a charity shop to see if they had a blanket. It got me thinking, and I'm in the process of setting up a scheme in Sheringham where you have some packs with initial first response equipment in.'

She said her sister and another six members of their group Sisters in Spirit, which last year raised �1,300 for MacMillan Cancer Support, would raise money for the packs.

They hoped to get a grant from Victory Housing Trust, and to provide window stickers to premises that had one of the packs.

Mrs Evans said the packs would include foil blankets, waterproof sheets, inflatable pillows, bleed pads, a wind-up torch, an umbrella and a sheet of card with basic instructions.

She said: 'We can begin to help ourselves, and maybe it will highlight whether we are getting the proper ambulance responses or not.'

She added: 'Maybe this will provide some reassurance for people. And maybe we will get a first responders' group going. Equipment will have to be replaced, so we will need ongoing fundraising to restock it.

'Out of something that happened to an elderly gentleman that was pretty horrible, some good will come.'

Mrs Evans said they were called angel packs because the man who was injured in Sheringham had called her sister an 'angel' when she came to his aid.

With growing concerns about missed ambulance waiting times in rural parts of Norfolk, Mrs Evans has also offered to help North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb compile individual incidents to put pressure on the ambulance trust.

? To sponsor an angel pack for �25, call Mrs Evans on 01263 823889.

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