Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury pub couple fundraisers among ambulance service heroes recognised at awards night

A husband and wife pub team who raise thousands of pounds for good causes have been recognised for giving so much great support to emergency first responders.

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Landlady Angie Roberts and her husband Kev raise thousands of pounds for charity at the Dog and Pheasant in Shrewsbury.

They have been recognised at the West Midlands Ambulance Service's Staff Long Service & Excellence Awards and Excellence in the Community Awards. It was held at The Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill, with almost 700 guests attending across the two events.

Angie and Kev won the Community Initiative and Partnership Award.

The citation read that "at the heart of every good community is a good local, and in Shrewsbury, The Dog and Pheasant, is exactly that".

"Run by landlady Angie and her husband Kev, the pub puts a strong focus on creating a community feel for its regulars, something which is demonstrated by a continued drive to raise money for good causes."

The pub raises money for five charities and the Shrewsbury Community First Responders scheme is something they have been doing since 2022.

They have hosted various events such as darts, bingo, pizza nights and a King’s Coronation Party, all of which has helped raise almost £2,200 for the scheme.

WMAS says: "With CFR schemes being solely reliant on fund-raising, support like this is absolutely vital to help keep them operating and helping to save lives within their local community."

This year, 57 members of staff were recognised for having given 20 years of service to WMAS; 17 staff were commended for 25 years' service; 18 received certificates for 30 years' service; nine members of staff were honoured for 35 years in the trust; and two celebrated an incredible 40 years of service.

Other awards to be handed out included Chief Officer Commendations, Student Paramedic of the Year, Mentor Awards, Apprenticeship Awards, Community Initiative and Partnership Awards; St John Ambulance Awards; CFR Long Service Awards and the CFR of the Year.

Anthony Marsh, the WMAS NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, said: "We all know the NHS is facing some of the toughest challenges it has ever known, but despite that, we have incredibly dedicated members of staff and volunteers who continue to provide excellent patient care every single day.

"That is why events such as our awards are important, not only for us as a service to recognise them for their efforts, but also so the recipients have the chance to step back and realise just what an incredible job they do, often for a remarkable length of time, as demonstrated in our long service awards.

"I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone for the professionalism and dedication they continue to show, to help people across the West Midlands in their hour of need."

Vice-Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Louise Bennett OBE, said: "It is flattering to attend awards ceremonies such as these as I relish the chance to be part of success and great service, which was so much in evidence on the day.

"Ambulance staff represent the best of the best and to you all, I say a huge thank you. Thank you for the service you give to our communities every single day, whether in the 999 or Patient Transport Service, and whether you are frontline or someone who works behind the scenes."

High Sheriff of the County of Warwickshire, Rajvinder Kaur Gill, said: "It is an honour and privilege to stand in front of everyone linked with West Midlands Ambulance Service to help celebrate their remarkable achievements.

"Every second counts in this line of work, it can make the difference between life and death. Everyone throughout the organisation, frontline, support staff and back office, all show unwavered commitment, skill and compassion every single day and it is only right to recognise their extraordinary efforts."

Prof Alex Hopkins, WMAS deputy-chair, said: "I wear two hats, one as a member of the Board of Directors, and the other as a member of the community. From both sides, I want to say how incredibly grateful I am for everything our staff members and volunteers do to respond to patients in their hour of need.

"We heard about some incredible achievements at the award ceremonies, staff and volunteers going above and beyond to help someone else and it is fantastic to be able to reward them for their commitment.

"It's easy to think 'well that's just my job' but I would urge everyone to never forget the difference you make to patients, their friends and families, at what is possibly the worst moment of their lives. Thank you all for everything you do."

The trust's awards were sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham City University, Optima Health, Mills and Reeve and Jays Sourcing.

Below is the report listing the award winners and citations:

Chief Officer's Commendation – Amber Reeday and Chris Taylor (Sandwell)

'Amber Reeday and Chris Taylor were first on scene to a “concern for welfare” call in August last year, where they discovered a patient on the wrong side of a bridge over a river. Chris quickly began communicating with the patient, trying to build a rapport, whilst Amber fed back what was happening to control and acted on any further instructions she was given.

'It was Chris's calm approach and effective communication that helped bring the patient to safety. Both Chris and Amber showed tremendous compassion to help bring the incident to a safe conclusion when the potential consequences of it going wrong were severe. The excellent job they both did was noted by police and fire colleagues in the debrief afterwards.'

Team Excellence Award – The Health and Wellbeing Roadshow Team (Trust HQ – Brierley Hill)

'Staff face more and more significant challenges and stresses as part of their work. The Trust places huge importance in supporting both the physical and mental well-being of everyone. The Health and Wellbeing Roadshow team demonstrated exceptional dedication and effort in putting on 25 events across the region in 2023.

'Their outstanding planning, coordination and close working relationships with local management ensured inclusive access for all staff members and seamless execution of each event.

The team also secured participation from various external partners, alongside all of the Trust initiatives, to enhance the event experience. The events not only encouraged staff engagement, but also highlighted the comprehensive health and wellbeing services that are made available by the Trust.'

Community Initiative and Partnership Award – Angie and Kev Roberts (Shrewsbury)

'At the heart of every good community is a good local, and in Shrewsbury, The Dog and Pheasant, is exactly that. Run by landlady Angie and her husband Kev, the pub puts a strong focus on creating a community feel for its regulars, something which is demonstrated by a continued drive to raise money for good causes.

'Amongst the five charities the pub raises money for is Shrewsbury CFRs, something they have been doing since 2022. They have hosted various events such as darts, bingo, pizza nights and a King’s Coronation Party, all of which has helped raise almost £2,200 for the scheme. With CFR schemes being solely reliant on fund-raising, support like this is absolutely vital to help keep them operating and helping to save lives within their local community.

'So, for their continued support of Shrewsbury CFRs, please join me in saying a big well done to Angie and Kev Roberts.'

Chief Officer’s Commendation – Christine Davies and Sam McCreanor (Cov & Warwick)

'In November last year, Sam McCreanor and Christine Davies were tasked to a “concern for welfare” call which quickly took a turn for the worse.

'On arrival they saw an elderly lady at the window whom they asked to open the door, but after a couple of minutes that had not happened. Attempting to make contact through the letterbox to check everything was ok, Sam and Christine were alarmed when they heard a call of ‘let go of me’ which was followed by panicked shouts of ‘he’s got a knife’ and ‘he’s been stabbed’. The door suddenly opened on Christine and Sam and they were faced with an elderly woman who was being grabbed and restrained at knifepoint. After activating their emergency button, showing tremendous bravery, Christine grabbed the lady to try and pull her away whilst Sam tried to remove the man’s grip from her. Once free, they retreated to the safety of the locked ambulance and waited for police to arrive. It became evident a second man was inside the property, who had been stabbed, but thankfully as backup arrived, he was able to be taken to hospital.

'There is no doubt that Christine and Sam’s actions went above and beyond in what must have been a truly terrifying situation.'

Chief Officer’s Commendation – Kian Winward and Billy Steele (Frankley)

'Patient Transport Service crew Kian Winward and Billy Steele were on their way to a hospital discharge when they noticed a man on the wrong side of the railings above the Aston Expressway in Birmingham.

'It quickly became clear he was in a state of distress and his position became more vulnerable as he was only holding on with one hand. Having already requested police support and fearing for the individual’s safety, they made the decision to try and get to the man on the top of the bridge. The man remained panicked as Billy made his way to the top, but as soon as Billy was close, he asked for help in getting him back to the right side of the railings. The man now became violent and aggressive and attempted to climb to the wrong side of the railings again. Kian went to support Billy and they managed to restrain the man until police could arrive and take over the situation.

'Professionalism, courage and an ultimate desire to do everything they could for the patient, were just a few of the many skills shown on that evening in a situation which could have had a very different outcome.'

Young Person of Outstanding Bravery Award: Edward and Harry Blakeman (Stoke)

'Brothers Edward and Henry Blakeman, aged 8 and 4, were at home with their mum in February, when she suddenly collapsed and became unresponsive.

'With their dad Carl out at work, as an Operational Manager for the ambulance service, Edward showed tremendous courage to call for an ambulance before passing his address using the phonetic alphabet. Edward not only did everything asked of him by the call assessor, he maintained excellent manners throughout, something he could have been forgiven for letting slip in such a stressful situation. The boys worked together to check on their mum, and showing maturity beyond his years, Edward also gave praise to Henry after he had been to fetch a pillow to help.

'Once Carl was informed of the situation, he responded to the address along with an ambulance and thankfully mum recovered well.'

Student Paramedic of the Year – Phoebe Wade (Lichfield)

'This year's winner is described as having an enviable mix of compassion and competence, as well as a self-aware and self-deprecating manner which give her the best possible tools to care for patients in their hour of need. Extremely popular with her colleagues, our winner is very motivated to succeed in her studies and manages to find the right balance between practical and academic success. This is evident in her patient care and the empathy she displays to immediately offer reassurance. It is clear that her personal values are strong and match with those of the Trust.

'She set a high standard of attainment at the beginning of her course and his consistently met this, and now continues to work hard on her academic journey.'

Health and Wellbeing Award – Rin Passmore (Bromsgrove)

'Rin Passmore is a Clinical Team Mentor based at Bromsgrove Hub and a qualified dietitian who has designed and led a groundbreaking study assessing the cardiovascular health of West Midlands Ambulance Service staff. With a research scholarship from the National Institute for Health Research, she measured lifestyle and occupational risk factors in nearly 400 ambulance clinicians, conducting face-to-face clinics for blood samples and physical measurements to calculate cardiovascular risk.

'Rin collaborated with University Hospitals Birmingham, the University of Birmingham, and the WMAS research team, all while maintaining her role as a frontline paramedic and mentor. Her dedication has provided crucial feedback to hundreds of staff, inspiring many to make lifestyle changes to improve their cardiovascular health.

'Rin’s work demonstrates her unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of our staff, offering valuable insights into cardiac risk factors within our organisation.'

St John Ambulance Award – Jon Beacham (Worcester)

'In November last year, Worcester St John member and school head teacher Jon Beacham was forced to act quickly when a colleague collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

'Jon didn’t panic, instead he took charge of the situation and after instructing other staff members to fetch the AED, he immediately began CPR. Once the defib was at the patient’s side, Jon delivered two shocks, which helped ensure the patient had regained consciousness by the time the ambulance arrived.

'Thanks to Jon’s quick actions and high level of care, I'm delighted to tell you the patient has made a full recovery.'

CFR Chief Officer Commendation – Andy Thurgood (Hereford)

'Andy Thurgood has been a familiar and respected figure in West Midlands pre-hospital care for many years.

'One of the first non-medical practitioners to be recognised by the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care of the Royal College of Surgeons, this accreditation has allowed him to significantly influence pre-hospital care both regionally and nationally. Andy holds senior roles supporting medical care delivery in both West Midlands Fire and Police services and additionally, has volunteered with the Mercia Accident and Rescue Service BASICS scheme and the West Midlands CARE Team, where he recently stepped down as Clinical Lead.

'His continued dedication has greatly impacted patient care and professional growth in pre-hospital services and as he now reduces his pre-hospital commitments, the time is right to honour and thank him for his exemplary service.'