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Open Letter from Steve Harris, the new Scheme Co-ordinator

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Seasonal greeting to all

I thought, after such a hard couple of years, I should just give a quick update from the operational side of Eccleshall’s fantastic CFR team.

Since the start of the epidemic and through all of the different rules, lockdowns etc Martin, Jay, Sue and myself have missed just a handful of days serving the people of Staffordshire in one way or another. As the new team coordinator I would like to thank them, but more importantly, their families (also at risk) allowing us to respond. We may not have worn out our equipment with use but we certainly have cleaned it to the point of destruction.

We have not just been on Eccleshall’s response car but since January also crewing High Dependence ambulances, taking urgent cases into hospital, relieving pressure on our brilliant front line A&E crews (to which the whole of the West Midlands owes a massive thank you).

Although we have reduced the overall number of activations, ALL of the jobs we have attended are now classed as cat 1 or 2, life-threatening, priority calls.  As a team, we have had as many calls within the 80 sq miles covered as any other team and far more than the majority within the whole of the 5000 sq miles covered by the West Midlands (something we are very proud of)

During this time Eccleshall Responders have received a number of chief officers commendations and letters of thanks for not just the times we have assisted in the saving of lives but, just as importantly, when we have made a difference to a patient’s family’s outcome.

We have also been assisting in the training of some 400 new and existing responders up to the new national recognised qualification taught in the ambulance service’s  National Academy, by the same tutors and to the same standards as every member of the ambulance service.  We have also been assisting team members from our friends and neighbouring teams in Stone, Gnosall and Loggerheads (a very warm welcome Steve and Hannah)

It is a great shame that Martin has had to stand down from active responding through damaging his back (lifting too many sick patients) but he has moved over to the vitally important role carried out by our committee in raising funds, maintaining AED’s,  public awareness and many other roles.  A massive thank you goes out to him for his 15 years of service, usually 3000 hours a year, serving the people of Eccleshall.  Party to follow when covid safe!

The team are averaging some 450 hours a month assisting the very overstretched Ambulance service this year BUT if you can help in any way by coming forward as a  responder or joining the fund-raising committee or contributing in any other way, please feel free to contact any member of the team.

Rest assured we will be doing as many hours as we can during the festive period but in the nicest way we hope we don’t HAVE  to meet you.

Steve Harris

Scheme co-ordinator

Two more awards for Eccleshall CFRs

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Eccleshall CFRs were double recipients at this year’s “Excellence in the Community Awards”.

The ceremony, organised by West Midlands Ambulance Service took place last week in Brierly Hill.

Responder and Group Co-ordinator Martin Watson received a “Chief Officer Commendation” which was presented in recognition of his part in successfully resuscitating a patient in December last year. The patient had suffered a cardiac arrest whilst outside but after a period of CPR and the use of an on-site defibrillator was successfully resuscitated and has since gone on to make a full recovery. 


The second award was the WMAS Chairman’s Award and was presented by Sir Graham Meldrum to the whole group. The presentation was made in recognition of the scheme’s efforts, dedication and enthusiasm whilst engaging with the community the scheme serves. In 2017 the scheme received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service and that achievement was also recognised in this year’s Chairman’s award

Martin Watson said this was a great night for Eccleshall First Responders and it is nice to receive recognition for the hours that the members of the team dedicate to the people of Eccleshall and surrounding villages. It is a fantastic achievement for the whole team including fundraisers and supporters.

New Eccleshall Networking group makes Eccleshall CFR’s their first donation recipient

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Bubbles and nibbles heralded the launch of a new community event for Eccleshall residents and businesspeople.

The Eccleshall Network’s first gathering was held at The Artisan this month.

The group, known as Ten, aims each meeting to support and connect the community, inform people about a key topic and encourage charitable donation to one of the town’s good causes.

The inaugural event saw Robert Fearnley from local solicitors Bowcock and Pursaill explain about the importance of Lasting Powers and Attorney. Then it was the turn of Dudley Freshwater from Eccleshall First Responders to talk about the vital work carried out by the volunteers.

Jay Eames gave people an opportunity to ask questions about the realities of being a Responder, giving a unique insight into life in uniform and incidents he’s attended.

The event was organised by Tim Hulse of Eccleshall-based Accountancy and Business Advisory firm Piper Hulse and Tim took the opportunity to bring the event full circle by presenting the First Responders with a cheque for £180, generated by sales of tickets to the gathering. Ten’s ongoing philosophy will be to use an hour per month to unite local people and profits from the £10 entry fee will support yet more local good causes.

Tim said: “I’m really pleased to see such a fantastic turnout from our local community and want to build on the success of the first Ten event by encouraging yet more Ecclians to come along to our monthly get-togethers.

“I believe it’s important to support home-grown organisations, to develop that sense of belonging and to nurture the great things that come from a better-connected society. Presenting the First Responders with £180 is the icing on the cake.

HM Lord Lieutenant presents The Queens Award for Voluntary Service to Eccleshall Community First Responders

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A great night was had on Tuesday with the presentation of our Queens Award for Voluntary Service by HM Lord Lieutenant.

In attendance were The High Sheriff of Staffordshire, The Deputy Mayor of Stafford Borough, Sir Bill Cash and many more supporters, as well as several local residents who have been “users” of the Eccleshall CFR Service.

Thanks to all those who helped with the night or came to show their support. It was very much appreciated by all of the team.

Eccleshall CFRs are awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

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Eccleshall Community First Responders have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This award is the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary groups and has been awarded for their work in “Providing emergency medical aid, training and lifesaving equipment to those living and working in the local community”

Thanks to all those that have supported us in any way in the past and currently. Watch out for the award presentation which will be made by the Lord Lieutenant who is the Queen’s representative in Staffordshire, later in the year. Date and venue to be arranged but all are welcome to attend.

The winners are announced in the London Gazette

Local firefighter runs for Eccleshall First Responders

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Local retained firefighter James Ainsworth has announced that he will run his first marathon in 2017. Whats more he has set himself the target of completing the course in under 3 hours.

He will be running in the local Flying Fox marathon which is at the end of May. He has kindly offered to use the run as an opportunity to raise funds for the Eccleshall First Responders.

Please help James and the First Responders by visiting James’ Just Giving page on the link below and making a pledge to help him achieve his target! You can donate using the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/james-ainsworth

If you are in any doubt, James is the fit looking one on the right!!

New Responders

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After several months of training culminating in a stressful day of exams and practical assessments we now have some newly qualified First Responders on the team.

The new guys now only have to complete 2 observation sessions with West Midlands Ambulance Service and hopefully you will see them on the road around Eccleshall soon in the new year.

Well done and welcome to them all. Photos and more information will be coming soon.

If you see us down the high street please come across and say hello.

Our new car!

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Our new baby has finally arrived and is ready for service! We shall be introducing her to the people of Eccleshall tomorrow morning in the High Street. Please come and say hello any time you see us around. After all it’s your money that has bought it for us! Thank you