Volunteer praised for supporting ambulance crews


A volunteer in Crowborough has been given an award for his role serving refreshments to hard-working ambulance crews at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Community First Responder Leigh Westwood

Community First Responder Leigh Westwood picked-up a Chief Executive’s Commendation for his role in providing the welfare trucks, on top of everything else he does he does for the Ambulance Trust.

Scott Montgomery Community Resilience Manager said:

Leigh took-up the baton right from the start, driving to Essex to assist in collecting the vehicles [loan to the Trust by Ford], then gave hundreds of hours to support the project. Not only crewing the vehicles but organising, reorganising the rota for the vehicles sometimes hour by hour.

Scott Montgomery Community Resilience Manager

With more than 200 Community First Responders keen to help-out and support the scheme, Leigh had his work cut-out.

The welfare trucks attended A&E Departments to ensure crews could obtain snacks and drinks. Some great new friendships and relationships were built-up around the cups of tea, and it really helped demonstrate that the CFRs will go above and beyond to help out the Trust where we can.

Leigh said he was humbled to receive the award:

This was a very difficult time for everyone, not just the ambulance crews and Community First Responders on the frontline. I was asked if I could assist with the project, and then worked with the Community Resilience Team to make it a reality. It was a pleasure to work with the volunteers that made this project come to life and to see the difference it was making to the crews. This was a true team effort and I thank each and everyone that was involved.

Leigh Westwood

The first of three annual award ceremonies, primarily covering Kent, was held in Maidstone on Thursday (7th). The ceremony saw awards being handed-out for 20, 30 and even 40 years of service, while commendation award winners joined in the celebrations virtually.

There was also a special recognition award for former paramedic Robin Friday – one of the original six ambulance personnel chosen to undergo formal cardiac training. This year marks 50 years since Robin became what is considered to be one of the UK’s first paramedics, when he completed his training in Brighton in 1971.

Full details of all long service and award winners can be found on SECAmb’s website.

Two further ceremonies will take place on 14th and 21st October in Surrey and Sussex.

First responders are specially trained volunteers that provide emergency treatment to people in their local area. They are dispatched by the ambulance service to certain types of medical emergencies. They are on-call from their homes or place of work, and can reach the patient quickly. They provide immediate emergency treatment and reassure the patient until the emergency services arrive.

Crowborough Community First Responders are having their annual Black Tie fundraising event on 6th November.

As a charity they rely on donations. Apart from a response to emergency calls, they also fund Public Access Defibrillators and run basic lifesaving skills.

To find-out more about what they do see their website: crowborough-cfr.co.uk.



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  1. Well done Leigh, The ambulance crews are fantastic and need all the help they can get. If there is a number where I can voluteer similar support, I would be keen to know about it. I am retired.
    Malcolm Place 01892 669004

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