Community first responder Pam Clouston MBE with dog Riley

New Year’s honour for NEAS paramedic and community first responder

Congratulations to Tom and Pam

A NEAS paramedic and community first responder have made this year’s New Year’s Honours list in recognition of their contribution to their local communities.

Paramedic Tom Cuthbertson has been awarded an MBE alongside his wife Carla after turning the tragic loss of their son Nathan into something positive by fundraising in his memory.

Rothbury based Pam Clouston has also been awarded an MBE in honour of her service as a magistrate for 24 years in both adult and family courts and as a community first responder with North East Ambulance Service for 18 years, devoting thousands of hours and helping to save countless lives.

Pte Nathan Cuthbertson, of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), was killed while on foot patrol in Helmand Province in June 2008.

Tom and Carla’s charity work has included the now annual Cuthy’s 200 bike ride as well as creating a memorial wall and a veterans’ walk.

Tom told the Sunderland Echo: “After what’s been an awful year for everybody, this has really put a smile on our faces. We were absolutely gobsmacked when we found out about the MBEs. Everything we’ve done has never been for an award, we do it for our Nathan and to help others.

"We’ve met some amazing people over the years and been invited to places such as Downing Street and Buckingham Palace through our charity work. In some ways it’s not what we would have wanted because it’s took the death of our son, but at least some goodness has come from it.

“Nathan would be saying ‘ha’way, are you having a laugh’ if he found out his mam and dad were getting an MBE.”

Pam began volunteering with North East Ambulance Service in 2002 after a notice in her local shop asking for volunteers to train in the use of defibrillators peaked her interest.

Since then, she has supported hundreds of patients in her local area – from giving vital life-saving CPR to simply holding a patient’s hand and checking their observations whilst waiting for the ambulance crew to arrive.

In more recent years, Pam has also undertaken additional falls training, which means she carries additional equipment to help patients up off the floor, leaving emergency ambulances free for more urgent cases.

“I began volunteering after Richard left home,” she said. “I had some spare time and wanted to do something useful which used my brain.

“My time as a magistrate has certainly never been boring. I sat as a senior magistrate, firstly covering North Shields and then North Northumbria. As a senior magistrate, I specialised in family law.

“Having always been interested in first aid, and being good at biology at school, the responder role really appealed to me. I think the role provides a necessary local service, either in the chain of survival or sometimes much less dramatic intervention helping a patient until a crew arrives.

“I have made some very good friends in the ambulance service who I would have never met if I hadn’t been a responder. I know the Rothbury paramedics well, and get very good support from them, and I know I can turn to them if I needed to discuss anything. We also get good support for our training and equipment from the responder team and there is always someone at the end of the phone for any issues.

“The number of calls I attend varies massively; I could attend four or five incidents in one week and then have nothing for a couple of weeks. I usually always have my pager on at home, including at night, although thankfully middle of the night calls are not too frequent!

“I have attended so many memorable incidents over the years; there are some sad memories but the ones that stick in your mind are the ones where you’ve been able to make a real difference to a patient’s outcome.

“I was very surprised to get this honour, and very pleased, as I feel our communities rely on volunteers, across all types of support they offer.”

Paul Liversidge, deputy chief executive and volunteer lead for North East Ambulance Service said: “On behalf of the ambulance service, I would like to congratulate both Tom and Pam on this well-deserved recognition.”

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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