Eastbourne and Polegate ambulance workers recognised at virtual awards

Three people from Eastbourne and Polegate have been awarded for their work for the ambulance service.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 3:14 pm

Three people from Eastbourne and Polegate have been awarded for their work for the ambulance service.

South East Coast Ambulance Service staff and volunteers had their work recognised at a covid-safe online awards ceremony.

Two of SECAmb’s annual awards ceremonies were postponed in March 2020 and this year staff were given the choice of having a virtual event instead.

Nicole Barrow. Photo from Peter Cripps. SUS-210422-124754001

Sir Peter Field and Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenants of East Sussex and Surrey, and Shahid Azeem, the High Sherriff of Surrey, all attended.

Polegate-based operations manager Nicole Barrow, was recognised for the care and compassion she provided a colleague who was at the end of her life, following a battle with cancer.

According to SECAmb, in her role as welfare contact for Caroline Stannard, a much-loved staff member from Hastings, Nicole often went above and beyond what might have been expected of her.

Nicole’s manager Rhiannon Roderick said, “Nicole handled such an emotional and sensitive situation with real compassion and integrity. While much of the support was emotional, Nicole also spend a great deal of time assisting Caroline with the completion of complex paperwork which, at such a tough time, Caroline found very stressful and time consuming.

Nicole Barrow. Photo from SECAmb. SUS-210422-104235001

“Nicole really provided holistic support of everyone who was affected. When it came to ensuring staff could attend Caroline’s funeral, Nicole acted as the single point of contact and arranged more shift swaps than I could keep track of. Everyone who wanted to attend the funeral could but at no detriment to the vehicle numbers – keeping the people of Hastings safe that day.

“The way she acted really speaks of her as a person. For Caroline, she helped to relieve some of the burdens of stress and she also gave complete reassurance that she had it all in hand. She made a huge difference to Caroline and the whole team.

“Nicole emulates the behaviour she expects of others. I love working with her. Shes someone who, if she walks in somewhere with you, you know you’re going to be okay. She’s one of the best team players I know and it’s an absolute privilege to work with her.”

Martin Lock, a paramedic with 37 years under his belt who is also from Polegate, received the 30 years’ NHS Long Service Award.

Martin Lock. Photo from SECAmb SUS-210422-103132001

Martin started as a trainee at the Brighton Ambulance Station in October 1983 and in 1995 he transferred to Uckfield Ambulance Station where he remained until Polegate’s centre opened in 2016.

He said, “The biggest change to the paramedic profession was when it became a university degree qualification. While I didn’t need to go to university myself, I have had to work hard to get my knowledge up to the equivalent level and I finally passed my final module last December.

“I was very pleased to finally collect the award but the real rewards of this job are the thanks I get on a daily basis from my patients, many of whom are having the worst day of their lives. While I’m only a very small cog in the NHS machine, I like to think I play a part in helping them on the road to recovery.

“I still enjoy my job so much that, although I am due to retire later this year, I don’t feel ready to hang up my stethoscope yet and intend to carry on working part time.

Matthew Briggs. Photo from SECAmb. SUS-210422-103121001

“While work has been hard at times during the pandemic, especially in January and February, I count myself lucky that I’ve had an excuse to leave the house. I feel most sorry for the people who, like my wife, can only help beat the virus by staying indoors. It must be soul-destroyingly boring for them.

“When I look back at how the job has changed over the last 37 years it is almost unrecognisable. Now we have many more patient assessment skills, a lot more treatments we can offer at home and more alternative pathways to avoid hospital. What the ambulance service of 2050 will look like I can’t begin to imagine.

“Can I finish by saying a massive thank you to my long-suffering wife Linda, for putting up with playing second fiddle to the ambulance service; the long hours, the late finishes, the anti-social shift patterns, the coming home shattered after a difficult job. I couldn’t do my job without your love and support.”

Eastbourne-based Matthew Briggs, a senior team leader with Eastbourne Community Responders, was awarded the Volunteer’s 10 years’ Long Service Award.

Mr Briggs said, “I’m proud to have been working with the teams of Community Responders and SECamb staff for such a long time. I was told about the award by one of our managers and the SECamb team have been great in making it special even with all of the challenges of the pandemic.”

In regards to his work with the ambulance service Mr Briggs said, “I joined in September 2009, at the time there were only three Community responders in Eastbourne. Along with my colleagues we grew the team and started the Eastbourne Area Community First Responders charity to help fund CFR equipment.

“I became the Team leader and more recently the Team leader role was passed to Richard Bradford and I became Senior Team Leader looking after several teams along the South Coast.”

SECAmb chief executive Philip Astle said, “I am really pleased that we have been able to recognise some of the staff who were unable to receive their awards in March last year.

“I am always extremely humbled by the dedication of the decades of service we mark and incredibly proud of the special achievements of our commendation winners. These achievements are just a small selection of the amazing work which goes on day-in, day-out across our region.

“This year has been particularly challenging for staff and it is vital that we continue to recognise the commitment shown to their communities and each other.

“I would like to thank the Lord Lieutenants of East Sussex and Surrey, Sir Peter Field and Michael More-Molyneux as well as the High Sheriff of Surrey, Shahid Azeem for being part of this unique event. I would also take this opportunity to thank all staff, whatever their role and length of service, for commitment they show and the work they do to serve patients across our region.”