Paramedics represent the North East to support London colleagues during The Queen's funeral
Proud to serve
With around 1million mourners descending on London last weekend, we answered a call for mutual aid from our colleagues at London Ambulance Service to support them in keeping the public safe.
The Trust’s Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response (EPRR) team is responsible for ensuring our service meets its statutory obligations under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004).
When London Ambulance Service put a call out for support for over the weekend to enable it to continue a normal safe and resilient service for the public, NEAS joined services across the country to support.
Paramedics Lucy Watson and Rebekah Vonk, clinical team leader Steve Allsop and EPRR manager Tony Traynor were honoured to represent #TeamNEAS – clocking up more than 60,000 steps between them on foot patrol around the vicinity of the crowds.
Lucy and Rebekah were the first to arrive on the Saturday, ready to start their first shift with their London counterparts on the Sunday.
After a long journey down south on Sunday, Tony and Steve joined them ready to start their shift bright and early at 4.30am on Monday. Steve was tasked with foot patrol, identifying any potential bottle necks of crowd flow and offering support where required, whilst Tony worked as roaming operational commander before taking his turn in the Hyde Park control room.
“There were an estimated 400,000 people in the park where the screens were and there was such a variety of people, from Veteran groups to Tibetan monks, all vying for a good position to watch the screens and routes,” said Tony.
“There was an unbelievable amount of police and military in the area too. The atmosphere was strange but very respectful and friendly.”
Lucy said: “The atmosphere was very relaxed and respectful. We chatted with a lot of the public, all very thankful for the ambulance and emergency services.
“I feel very lucky to have been able to be part of such a historic event.”
Steve added: “It was a very surreal, walking on busy roads that are normally full of hustle and bustle. I was proud to be part of such an event on such a sad occasion.
“The respect and cooperation between all involved was amazing, nothing needed to be said but a nod and a smile from all involved, acknowledging a level of hidden respect and pride to all involved.
“Massive well-done to LAS and other agencies for co-ordinating such an event.”
Australian paramedic Rebekah joined NEAS from another service last year.
She said: “We didn’t know what to expect, however we were so lucky to be tasked within the event footprint, which meant we got to walk around Buckingham Palace, Westminster and The Mall and along the long queue.
“My favourite part was standing at Westminster and watching Joe Biden and his large entourage come and pay his respects – he even waved at us! The Assistant Deputy MET Police Commissioner even stopped to talk to me which was nice of him. There were police in every direction you looked, we saw a few from up north such as Northumbria.”
Stu Holliday, strategic head of EPRR at NEAS, said: “As one big ambulance family, we regularly work together and support each other when required, especially when a large-scale event threatens to stretch an ambulance service’s resources to such an extent that it will affect their ability to deliver day to day operations. Mutual aid requests allow us to keep everyone safe.
“We were honoured to be able to answer the call from our colleagues in London and I would like to thank Laura, Rebekah, Steve and Tony for representing us so well on such a historic occasion.”