Shropshire Star

Ambulance service worker who came out of retirement to help during pandemic is recognised with BEM

An ambulance service worker has been honoured for her services to the Community First Responder scheme in North Wales.

Linda Williams has been named in the New Year Honours List

Linda Williams, from Wrexham, is one of three Welsh Ambulance Service workers recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Linda, a volunteer support administrator, receives the British Empire Medal.

She joined the service in 2004 and spent 11 years as an emergency medical technician before an injury meant she had to step back from her patient-facing role.

Linda, who is based in St Asaph, Denbighshire, now supports Community First Responders, the volunteers who attend 999 calls in their area and administer first aid in the precious first minutes before an ambulance arrives.

She put her retirement plans on hold in 2020 to support volunteers through the Covid-19 pandemic. Next year, she will celebrate 20 years of service.

She said: “Working on the road gave me enormous satisfaction, especially when you saved somebody’s life.

“Now I support volunteers, which means I still get to apply all of my clinical knowledge and can also give colleagues the benefit of my experience – it’s a different kind of satisfaction.

“Whether it’s practical or emotional support, I’m here to help them in whatever way I can – a lot of them call me ‘mum'.

“When a letter arrived from the Cabinet Office, I thought somebody was trying to sell me something.

“Then it sank in, and I just started crying.

“I can’t believe that somebody out there thinks what I do is good enough to warrant a British Empire Medal.”

Other Wales Ambulance Service workers recognised include Wendy Herbert and Gerry Adams.

Wendy, the trust’s assistant director of quality and nursing, has been awarded the King’s Ambulance Service Medal (KAM) for distinguished service.

Community First Responder Gerry has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for voluntary services to the community in Barry.

The service's chief executive Jason Killens said: “We’re beyond thrilled that Wendy, Gerry and Linda have been recognised in the King’s New Year Honours List.

“Wendy’s commitment to the delivery of high-quality patient care knows no bounds, while Gerry and Linda’s contribution to volunteering goes above and beyond the call of duty.

“We’re especially pleased that His Majesty has recognised not one, but two members of our volunteering family.

“These awards celebrate some of our very best ambulance professionals, and I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Wendy, Gerry and Linda, of whom we are incredibly proud.”

Almost 500 Community First Responders give up their time to support the ambulance service in Wales, and last year, they attended more than 10,000 emergencies.

Jenny Wilson, the trust’s national volunteer manager, said: “Volunteering at the Welsh Ambulance Service has come a long way in the last two decades.

“The role that Community First Responders play in starting the chain of survival can mean the difference between life and death, while volunteer car service drivers are a really important cog in the wheel of the non-emergency service.

“We’re delighted that Gerry and Linda’s contributions to volunteering are being recognised by His Majesty on the national stage.”