Queen's Award for First Responders

Monday, 01 September, 2008

From left to right; Interim chief locality operating officer Neil Storey, West Mersea group co-ordinator Bill Norman, Essex Lord Lieutenant Lord Petre, Brightlingsea group co-ordinator John Clarke and Essex First Responder co-ordinator John Hopkins

Essex volunteers have officially received Royal acknowledgement of their dedication and commitment to helping others in the community. Members of the Brightlingsea and West Mersea First Responder groups gathered at a ceremony in Colchester Town Hall recently to receive the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services from Essex Lord Lieutenant Lord Petre, who was invited to present the award on behalf of the Queen.

The award recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out in communities, and the groups were successful because they were able to demonstrate, among other criteria, that they have a proven track record of active involvement in the community and they meet a particular need. In 1997, the then Essex Ambulance Service was chosen as the national pilot site for the CFR scheme.

Five groups signed up that year including Brightlingsea and West Mersea. Bill Norman, West Mersea group co-ordinator, and Brightlingsea co-ordinator John Clarke, received the award from Lord Petre, who said, "Although I was not able to meet with the groups personally beforehand, Vice Lord Lieutenant George Courtauld was, and was able to give me enough information that I could write a glowing report on their achievements.

It gives me great pleasure to present this award." Bill spoke on behalf of both groups, thanking those who had supported them including local parish and town councils and John Hopkins. "We all want to thank John for recommending us in the first place. His support and encouragement has never wavered and without it we wouldn't have been able to serve the ambulance service or our communities in the way we have done," he said. "Both teams would like to thank the Deputy of Brightlingsea, paramedic Shani Nicholls, the Strood Charity, the Guardian Angels and the Mersea Lions for their very considerable support over the last 10 years. It has been wonderfully reassuring to know we have such reliable support available in our communities."

Return to news menu