Shropshire volunteer lifesavers given new response car thanks to fundraising drive
Kind-hearted locals and businesses have joined forces to help a group of first responders buy their own vehicle that could help save lives.
The Albrighton & Cosford Community First Responders unveiled their new BMW X1 yesterday outside the Red House in the village, signalling the end of a fundraising drive that has seen them generate more than £30,000.
Medically-trained volunteers Dave Fitton, Craig Jones, Derek Mattinson and Stuart Morgan-Williams have been giving up their own time since 2004, always using their own vehicles to respond to emergencies – even when some of the emergencies they faced brought them to hard-to-reach, rural locations.
The quartet decided to do something about it 18 months ago, launching an appeal that would generate enough money to purchase the ‘emergency response’ car and kit it out with the necessary medical and communications equipment.
“With the ambulance service stretched to the max, we can often be the first medical specialist on the scene of an emergency, and in serious cases, this can be the difference between life and death,” said Mr Jones.
“The first few minutes are critical, where even simple medical intervention – performed as soon as possible – can save lives and prevent disability. This is why we wanted the best possible chance of getting to all locations in our catchment area and needed a vehicle that would be reliable and able to store all of our equipment.
“Local people and companies have really responded, holding collections, hosting charity events, donating money from car washes, training sessions and nominating us as their chosen charity. The response has been fantastic.”
The new BMW can deal with rough terrain and can be modified to store equipment including defibrillators and oxygen.
The car will carry the full ‘Community First Responders’ livery and has the latest communications technology in place to ensure all calls can be quickly answered.
It was on show in Albrighton giving the community a chance to sit inside the car, chat to the responders and witness live first-aid demonstrations.
All four volunteers have been trained to the latest national qualifications and work, on average, 20 hours each per month. They have responded to more than 150 incidents, covering cardiac arrests, blood loss, breathing issues, as well as dealing with falls, sprains and potential broken bones.
They primarily cover Albrighton and Cosford, but also help people in nearby Badger, Beckbury, Ryton and Tong.
Mr Fitton, the group's chair, said: “The event on Saturday is our way of saying a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the fundraising – between us all we have been able to secure a vehicle that will help us do our jobs better and hopefully save even more lives.
"Whilst the fundraising was a real team effort, we need to say a special thank you to Shropshire Masonic Lodges, the Wynn Foundation, parish councils, RAF Cosford, Timmins Waste Services, Albrighton Fire Station, John Marshall and the Crown public house in the village.”