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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Longtown lifesavers’ jubilee medal celebrations

When groups see one of their members recognised for their achievements, it’s always cause for celebration.

Longtown lifesavers photo
Four of the responders with their medals, from left, Sue Lawman, Paul Steele, Steve Whyberd and Carol Adams

But in Longtown an organisation dedicated to helping the community has nine reasons to cheer.

That’s how many First Responders have been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

They have been honoured for their long service to the town.

Chairman Steve Whyberd, 58, said: “There are 10 of us but the medal was only awarded to people with five years or more service to the town.”

The medal recipients are delighted with the recognition they have received.

Their job is to provide immediate first aid to people suffering conditions such as heart attacks.

They are seen as especially important in rural areas where ambulances may take some time to arrive at the scene.

The care they provide can be crucial for survival.

They are trained in techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Alongside this, each member has his own defibrillator, which costs between £400 and £600.

The group is completely self-financing and covering costs to provide equipment is extremely challenging.

“It takes a lot of fundraising,” said Steve.

Being a First Responder is also a heavy commitment. “We are on-call 24/7,” added Steve.

Volunteers go through intensive training in Preston over two weekends and are kept up to date with relevant developments in first aid.

They carry buzzers with them, and might have to attend an incident at any time.

Steve, who is a training manager for haulage firm William Armstrong, is grateful his employer is understanding on the subject.

However, he also pointed out that he is rarely away from his desk for any more than one hour.

Steve was one of the founder members of the group, which was set up back in 2004. Most of those honoured were founder members of the group.

But they are keen to add new people to their ranks and anyone interested in joining can contact Steve on 01228 791537.

The nine medal winners were: Carol Joyce, Carol Adams, Margaret McGuiness, Derek Murray, Joyce Underwood, Steve Whyberd, Sue Lawman, Paul Steele, Yvonne Mitchell.

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