A retired South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) paramedic has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours.
Steve Payne, from Seaford, will receive the Queen’s Ambulance Medal and is only one of four recipients of the medal in England this year.
Steve, who unfortunately had to retire as a paramedic due to ill health, was nominated by the Trust for his dedication and commitment to his job in spite of his illness – cancer, for which he is now receiving treatment as a palliative patient at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
It is the fourth year in a row that a member of SECAmb staff has been recognised with the prestigious medal.
Steve, who retired after 26 years in the ambulance service, and who describes his reaction as ‘gobsmacked’, said he was also delighted to hear the news. “I find it hard to explain the feelings I have that my peers nominated me,” said Steve. “I see receiving this medal as me representing an awful lot of people who have helped me over the years in my career. I have had so many amazing people guide me in my career and to have seen the paramedic profession come of age is phenomenal.”
Steve was informed of the news via post from the Department of Health. He added: “I’d just come back from a full day of hospital tests and to be honest just thought, ‘Oh what’s this from the department’. When I opened it I was reduced to tears. It was hard to keep secret until the New Year and I know my family are also very proud.”
Steve, who is now exploring the path to priesthood, and who was also admitted to the Order of St John for his voluntary work, will now await contact from Buckingham Palace for news of his investiture date later this year.
SECAmb Chief Executive Paul Sutton said: “Steve’s continual enthusiasm is extremely humbling and on behalf of everyone at SECAmb I’d like to say how proud we are that such a dedicated person will represent the Trust at Buckingham Palace. He is a very worthy recipient and it is right that his career has been honoured in this way.”
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