Queen’s medals for five years of instant responses
Published at 21:35, Wednesday, 27 June 2012
THE small band of First Responders, who are volunteers in Newcastleton, and now number 15, met up for a very special occasion last Saturday evening.
The members, along with partners and friends, attended the Grapes Hotel in the village, where seven of the inaugural group were awarded the Emergency Services Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
The medals were presented by Scottish Ambulance Service paramedic Bryan Finlay from Penicuik who has been involved with the group since its inception in 2007.
Bryan praised the First Responders for their commitment over the years and said they could be proud of themselves. Some people might not be alive today if it had not been for them.
On behalf of the group Pamela Cetoloni made a special presentation to Edwina Atkinson who has been involved with the group from the start and is treasurer and involved in many other roles.
The seven recipients of the diamond jubilee medals were Katrina Skelton, Pamela Cetoloni, Pauline Elliot, Susan Armstrong, Paula Downey, Vikki Pounder and Fraser McLean.
It all started in 2006 when the Liddesdale Ladies Amenities Group, (LLAGs) called an open meeting in the village to discuss the closure of the Newcastleton Health Centre in the evenings, at weekends and bank holidays, and the loss of a locally-based ambulance. A new group emerged and became the Newcastleton Community First Responders.
The group is entirely self-funded and very grateful to the village for its support.
They started running in April 2007, 18 months after the first meeting, and cover an area of around 10 miles from Kershopefoot in the South, to Hermitage Valley in the North, and Saughtree in the East.
First Responders are trained to respond to most emergency calls through the 999 system in conjunction with the ambulance service.
Responders provide immediate care to patients in rural areas where distance could delay the prompt arrival of an ambulance.
They are based within the community in which they live and can attend the scene of an emergency in a short time, often arriving within the first three or four minutes of a 999 call being made.
In 98 per cent of cases they are the first emergency resource to arrive at the scene and have attended around 100 call-outs.
Two members are always on call in the evenings or weekends, working on a rota system, and even when celebrating last Saturday evening two were at the ready.
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