HRH The Prince of Wales visits Barnard Castle Emergency Services station
A royal visit to open the Barnard castle station
HRH The Prince of Wales travelled to Barnard Castle on Thursday 15 February where he visited The Bowes Museum and the new Barnard Castle Emergency Services Station.
The Barnard Castle Emergency Services building is shared between North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS), Durham Constabulary and Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team.
The build began on Wilson Street at the site of the old fire station, in February 2016 with CDDFRS moving in on 10th March 2017. They were closely followed by the others who were all moved in by the end of April.
£3.78m was awarded by the government to CDDFRS to build the station, which will be the first of its kind in the country.
On arrival at the emergency services building His Royal Highness was met by Chief Fire Officer Stuart Errington who introduced him to some of the staff from all four emergency services who work at the station as well as some of those involved in the planning and construction of the building.
The Prince of Wales was then be invited to unveil the official plaque commemorating his visit to the station.
NEAS chief executive Yvonne Ormston said: “Bringing our emergency services together in this way is a model which could potentially be replicated in other regions. We are incredibly proud to be able to demonstrate how breaking down the boundaries between the separate services could make a difference to our services as well as the communities we serve.”
Chief Fire Officer Stuart Errington said: “It is a great honour and privilege to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to our new emergency services building which is the first of its kind in the UK, and to showcase some of the fantastic work we do in Barnard Castle to help keep the community safe.”
Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “This is a great example of emergency services working together to provide upgraded facilities and services to the public whilst also saving money.”
Steve Owers, Team Leader said “Our Team is 50 years old this year and welcoming His Royal Highness to our new Emergency Services Station will be one of the biggest highlights."
Paramedic Jennifer Todd, aged 38, of Barnard Castle, joined NEAS in September 2009 as a student paramedic and qualified in 2011. Her 17-year-old son Marc is also here as a police cadet, whilst her four-year-old son Rhys wants to be a fireman.
She said: “It’s good for the quad station to get some official recognition for being the first in the country.”
Paramedic Dawn Whitfield, aged 46, of Darlington, joined NEAS in 2001 as an advanced technician and qualified as a paramedic in three years ago.
Emergency care assistant Matthew Potts, aged 32, of Bishop Auckland, joined NEAS in 2015 out of the Army and is now on his first year of his student paramedic course.
Emergency care assistant Rob Chapman, aged 23, of Shildon, joined NEAS in 2013 as an apprentice and has been based at Barnard Castle since 2016.
Emergency care assistant Norman Brown, aged 49, of Barnard Castle, joined NEAS three years ago but is also a retained firefighter at the same station.
He said: “Having all four services together has helped us build up great relationships, which helps when we respond together.
“We’re looking forward to meeting His Royal Highness and showing members of the public round our station.”
Pam Baker, ambulance care assistant scheduled care, 54, Toft Hill joined NEAS three years ago. She said; "It’s lovely to be amongst all the different services we work with, who are not only good colleagues professionally but are good friends too.”
Steven Wilson, 26, of Bishop Auckland has been an Ambulance care assistant for three years said: “It’s great to be part of the team today.”
Phil Baxter, 59, of Barnard Castle joined NEAS in 1986 in outpatient service then technician, he then qualified as a paramedic and retired in 2015. He later returned to work within scheduled care.