Volunteers receive special regonition awards for going the extra mile for patients

Meet the volunteers who recieved awards for going the extra mile for patients

Whether as a volunteer porter, ambulance car service driver, community first responder or governor, NEAS volunteers invest thousands of hours in the service every year. 12 volunteers were highlighted at the volunteers awards for going the extra mile for their patients.

 Mark Mather

Community First Responder, Mark Mather was recognised for his support at an incident with Paramedic Wayne McKay. The incident was at a farm where there were two people injured after falling from horses. Mark not only supported the ambulance crew to treat the patients but when the air ambulance needed to land and there were concerns about livestock in the nearby fields, he used his own skills as a farmer to shepherd the animals to safety and clear the land for a safe arrival of the air crew to reach the patient. He was reported the crew as having been a huge support. Farmer Mark Mather from Wooler, Northumberland, has been a community first responder at NEAS since November 2013. A retired fire fighter, Mark now lives on a farm in a rural area surrounded by 2,500 sheep. Mark explains, “I joined the CFR programme as I loved the fire service and I wanted to make a difference to someone’s life as I wouldn’t be here myself if it wasn’t for the ambulance service, I was in an accident at work and had to have my leg amputated, the ambulance service responded and got me to the hospital for treatment. As I live in a rural community, we may not get an ambulance as quickly as expected. Being a CFR has provided a great opportunity to make a huge difference to my community.” 

Sue and Peter CFRs

Husband and wife team, Sue and Peter Davison have been a formidable force in the Allendale area for the past 13 years as community first responders.  Formerly a security manager and hospital housekeeper, the two have helped to keep a community response available in their area, helping many of their neighbours at times of need, before ill health forced them to retire recently.  Hoping that some other residents might pick up where they left off, Sue and Peter know only too well what a difference their help has made, be it just to hold a person’s hand, or on occasion to deliver CPR or even defibrillation.  The two feel passionately about supporting the ambulance service and are incredibly complimentary about the support, training and equipment that is now available for responders.  They say their biggest reward was to work as a team with ambulance staff and on occasion to receive a thankyou from a paramedic, patient or family member – that’s what made all of those middle of the night call outs worth it!

Sue Bainbridge CFR

Retired health and safety training co-ordinator at Glaxo Smith Kline, Sue Bainbridge has been putting her skills to community use in her hometown of Middleton in Teasdale where she operates as a CFR and life-saving skills trainer.  Having joined the North East Ambulance Service’s army of volunteers over 5 years ago, Sue has delivered awareness sessions on how to use a defibrillator and deliver CPR to over 200 local people, helping to make sure people across her community know how to react in an emergency.  She enjoys supporting the ambulance crews and explains her defining moment since becoming a CFR being when a neighbour brought her choking child to the door in a panic for help and Sue was able to bravely clear his airway


 Peter Devlin

Peter Devlin, 48 from North Shields and has volunteered as a Porter for just under one year. Previous to volunteering with the trust he worked for Remploy for 14 years and also volunteers for North Tyneside General Hospital in the RVS shop. He said, “I wanted to do some volunteering work to meet people and to help with my CV. I wanted to be a full time porter at my local hospital, it didn’t work out, but I got the opportunity to volunteer in a similar role. I find it very enjoyable and I get on very well with the other volunteers and hospital staff.”

 Bryn Howard porter

Porter Bryn Howard, 24, from Sunderland has volunteered with the trust since November 2015. Previous to volunteering Bryn was a student with ESPA (Education and Services for People with Autism) doing a project on media and music. He said, “I love working with people of all ages, other volunteers and staff in the hospitals. I like to keep busy and I find it very enjoyable.”

Andrew Johnson porter

Andrew John Johnson from Whitley Bay, has been a volunteer porter since March 17 volunteering at the Freeman Hospital has been nominated by NEAS after a member of staff visited the Freeman hospital and saw first-hand his interaction not only with the patients waiting for transport but the public in general. Considering that Andy had only been volunteering for just about a month he has embraced the role of the volunteer porter and the purpose it was introduced, to assist the patients and make them feel at ease whilst at hospital. Andrew had contacted control several times to check on a patient’s transport. He has received appreciation from patients and their escorts who have commented on how helpful, pleasant and cheerful Andrew is.

 Graham Kirkup

Convenience store owner, Graham Kirkup from Durham, has been an ambulance car service driver since December 2016. Due to his wife being ill, Graham joined NEAS as a volunteer to give something back and to help put other patients at ease during difficult times. He says, “If it wasn’t for the help from volunteers the service would not be able to cope with the volume of calls and patients. I find that patients really appreciate the service, we are like friends as we regularly take them to and from appointments.”

Michael Grice ACS 

Michael Grice from Newcastle upon Tyne, volunteers at NEAS as an ambulance car service driver and had worked in various roles within the transport service before joining NEAS. Michael says, “I wanted to do a worthwhile job helping patients get to and from hospital.” A family man himself, with a wife and daughter who work as Nurses he added, “Being a volunteer has a benefit to patients, there are a lot of elderly patients with no means of transport and no close family which they can rely on and that’s where the ambulance and ACS drivers really can help.”

David Richardson - Volunteer ambulance care service driver

Ambulance car service driver David Richardson from County Durham, started volunteering in 2009 and worked as a HGV Lorry driver for 18 years prior. David has personal experience being treated by the NHS during his triple heart bypass. He said, “I volunteered to give something back to the NHS as they helped me when I needed it most and I wanted to do something good.”


Kevin Marchant -  volunteer ambulance care service driver

Kevin Marchant, lives in Shilbottle, Alnwick with his wife, Son aged 21 and daughter 14 and has volunteered for the service since April 2008. Previous to volunteering Kevin became a qualified craftsman and worked for the Marines, he then went on to become a college lecturer but left due to health reasons. Kevin worked for the social services and provided support to vulnerable adults; this work was one of the reasons why he wanted to get into volunteering and being able to give back to the community. He said, “The service we provide benefits the patients and the service, and the area in which I live is widespread and an aging population in Northumberland. Some patients are just not capable of getting on a bus and travelling to a hospital.”

Neil Fraser - volunteer ambulance care service driver

Neil Fraser from South Tyneside lives with his wife and two west highland terriers has volunteered for the service since November 2012. Neil previously owned a taxi business and currently owns a flower shop business with his wife. His father-in-law had volunteered for the North East Ambulance Service and talked about what he did and Neil decided to volunteer himself. He said, “The benefit to the patients is being able to provide a service for those who are not able to travel to hospital. I also enjoy talking to patients about my fishing boat, as I like to travel out to sea, the patients seem to find it very interesting.”

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