A Hailsham paramedic has received an award at the second of the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) annual award ceremonies.
Gary Criddle received the trust’s Bravery award for his actions in calming down and disarming a man who brandished a pistol after Gary stopped to assist him.
Gary, a former Army medic, and his crewmate were driving through Hailsham High Street in the early hours of the morning when a man leapt out in front of the ambulance.
Winding down the window to see what he wanted, the man suddenly produced a pistol and pointed it at Gary. They drove 100 metres down the road, got control to call the police, and Gary walked back down the road to talk to the man.
He said, “He looked drunk and distressed and I thought the gun was probably a replica but it was not until I got up close that I suddenly realised from my experience in the Army that it looked all too real. But by that time I was with him he was threatening to blow me away.
“A regular part of our job is calming people down and persuading them so that is what I did and fortunately he calmed down and dropped the gun on the ground.
“I picked it up and made sure there were no rounds in the magazine but it turned out to be just a very good quality replica pistol.”
The ceremony, for the east of SECAmb’s region, was held on March 13 at The Orangery, Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent and attended by staff, members of the public and ambulance service volunteers. Staff were presented with Queen’s Medals for Long Service and Good Contact by the Deputy Lieutenant for Kent, Dr Bhargawa Vasudaven, while staff were also recognised for 20, 30 and 40 years’ NHS service.
There were also Chief Executive Commendation awards for clinical excellence, bravery, going above and beyond the call of duty, leadership and outstanding patient care.
SECAmb chief executive Paul Sutton said, “It’s always a pleasure to attend our annual awards ceremonies. I’m extremely proud of the commitment, level of clinical skill and compassion shown by all our staff.
“The awards winners highlighted each year represent just a small percentage of the amazing work which goes on at SECAmb all year round.
“It was also great to present a public commendation. The actions and quick thinking of members of the community are so often vital to ensure our crews are able to give our patient the best possible chance of survival.”