Ludlow bed push row: Cash kits out Community First Responder pair

By Lucy Todman | Ludlow | Health | Published:

Two Community First Responders will be kitted out in style thanks to fundraisers who undertook a controversial bed push - dressed in drag as female nurses.

League vice-chairman Michael Evans, right, hands over equipment to Mark Kinsey, Andy MacAuley and Charlotte Swinbourne - along with some of the bedpushers

In August, The Friends of Ludlow Hospital held their annual bed push and collected £2,500 from residents and visitors.

But the event sparked controversy when hospital bosses said they would not accept the cash telling those that took part that their costumes were 'demeaning' and their actions 'insulting'.

MPs, civic leaders and members of the public weighed in saying that Jan Ditheridge, the chief executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, which runs Ludlow Hospital, had acted unreasonably.

Instead, the money has been used to equip two Community First Responders for Ludlow.

The bed-pushers and the league were determined that residents and visitors who had so generously donated the money should see some long-term benefit.

“For some time concerns have been raised over time taken for ambulances and paramedics to get to incidents in the town and surrounding area”, said Peter Corfield, chairman of Ludlow League of Friends.

“As an alternative to purchasing equipment which the hospital needs, it was felt that by supporting First Responders with this donation, we could provide equipment which would have a wide and much needed benefit for our community."

Community First Responders are volunteers trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service to help provide lifesaving treatment to people within their local area.


They are alerted at the same time as an ambulance to 999 calls, and their proximity to the casualty often means that they are the first on scene to start life-saving care.

Two local volunteers, Andy MacAuley from Bitterley and Charlotte Swinbourne from Woofferton, are currently undergoing training and will join Ludlow’s two existing First Responders, Mark Kinsey and Mike Thompson, to bolster the local scheme.

Andy, already a member of West Mercia Search and Rescue, says “Our rural location with an ageing population, as well as many visitors, will greatly benefit from locals who can provide a speedy response to emergencies - such as accidents and heart attacks - with appropriate equipment when an ambulance or paramedic is coming from further afield.

"This money raised is providing two defibrillators, medical kit backpacks and other essential equipment which is not provided by the Ambulance Service."


The pair hope to become operational within the next six weeks.

Gary Walters of The Ludlow Brewing Company, and key organiser of the bed push and its team, said: “We were astonished when the health trust refused the money we raised for The League of Friends, but this money will support a vital local need.

“We will continue to support the League and Ludlow Hospital – plans for next year’s collection are already under way”.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.


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