A volunteer has been honoured for his service across a number of roles in the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.
Keith Marshall does not just carry out one unpaid role within the service, but three, spending much of his time helping to ensure others across the county get the best possible care in their hour of need.
The 61-year-old used to be a volunteer emergency first responder, until suffering a heart attack when attending an emergency call in September 2013, meaning that he can no longer carry out the role.
Nevertheless, the former care worker still co-ordinates two groups of community first responders, is a member of the ambulance service’s trust user group and is a trust ambassador.
For his efforts, Mr Marshall was given a special voluntary services award at the ambulance service’s annual awards ceremony on November 14.
“It was an extremely proud moment for me, but I must admit it was a bit embarrassing,” he said.
“I’m one of those people who firmly believe we don’t sing the praises of our staff as much as we should, but when you’re the one chosen for the award, it’s a bit embarrassing.”
The ceremony also highlighted some of the bravest and most awe-inspiring work of those on the front-line, with Mr Marshall describing his own inclusion as very special.
After becoming a volunteer five years ago, Mr Marshall, who lives in Bildeston Road in Wattisham, said he wanted to ensure standards continued at what he called “the best ambulance service in the country”, while helping those in his community.
“I think we do what we can to help provide the first class service the trust has always given,” he said.
“From a first responder’s point of view, it’s the element of making sure that people in our local community receive the best possible service in the quickest possible time.
“It’s true what they say, minutes save lives and first responders across the country have proven that.
“If we can save one life, that’s one very grateful person.”
The first response teams he directs have a specific set of skills and equipment and are sent to jobs where these can be utilised.
“Being local, we can normally get there before the ambulance,” said Mr Marshall. “In a life-threatening situation, it can make such a difference for the patient. In a non-life-threatening situation, it provides reassurance and has a calming effect.”
Mr Marshall feels his role as a member of the trust’s user group is equally important, carrying out tasks that would otherwise have to be paid for from the limited budget of the service.
These include surveys and audits, while members also meet to discuss the service and offer the board of directors ideas on how it could be improved.