Reunited: Keith Stapleton and Paul Smith outside NEAS headquarters

Off-duty paramedic was my guardian angel

Biker re-united with off-duty paramedic who came to his rescue

A North East paramedic who came to the aid of a Shildon biker while off duty has been hailed a “guardian angel”.

Keith Stapleton, aged 53, was on a day trip to Moffat with a friend on 28 June when he came off his bike and landed in a field off the A708.

By pure chance, Paul Smith, a paramedic and Emergency Care Clinical Manager at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), of Peterlee, was on his way to Moffat Classic Car Rally with his wife and a group of friends, travelling just five minutes behind Keith.

Paul rushed to Keith’s aid and waited with him until the ambulance arrived.

Keith suffered a broken collar bone and fractured vertebrae but is now recovering at home.

Thanks to some help from his brother-in-law Peter Reed, who works for the trust’s Patient Transport Service, Keith was able to track down Paul and thank him in person when they were reunited at NEAS headquarters in Newburn.

“Paul was on his day off and he didn't have to stop but I'm so thankful he did,” said Keith.

“His professional and friendly manner kept me calm and comfortable and he kept my spirits up by joking on with me. Most of all, he was my friend when I needed help the most.

“What he did was fantastic and he stopped with me the whole time. He was like my guardian angel.”

“I would always stop,” said Paul. “I think 99% of people would.

“As a paramedic you’re never off duty, it’s in our nature to help people. It’s more than a job, it’s a vocation.” 

Paul Liversidge, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Paul is a great example of the type of people we have working for NEAS, who don’t stop caring just because they’re not at work, so it’s fantastic to be able to recognise them publicly in when they go above and beyond in this way.”

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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