Kind-hearted locals and businesses have joined forces to help a group of medically trained volunteers purchase their own vehicle that could help save lives.
The Albrighton & Cosford Community First Responders unveiled its new BMW X1 on Saturday outside the Red House in the village, signalling the end of a fundraising drive that has seen them generate over £30,000.
Dave Fitton, Craig Jones, Derek Mattinson and Stuart Morgan-Williams have been giving up their own time since 2004, always using their own vehicles to serve the local community – not ideal when some of the emergency calls involve hard-to-reach rural locations.
The quartet decided to do something about it eighteen months ago, launching an appeal that would generate enough money to purchase the ‘emergency response’ car and kit it out with the necessary medical and communications equipment.
“With the Ambulance Service stretched to the max, we can often be the first medical specialist on the scene of an emergency, and in serious cases, this can be the difference between life and death,” explained Craig.
“The first few minutes are critical, where even simple medical intervention – performed as soon as possible – can save lives and prevent disability. This is why we wanted the best possible chance of getting to all locations in our catchment area and needed a vehicle that would be reliable and able to store all of our equipment.”
He continued: “Local people and companies have really responded, holding collections, hosting charity events, donating money from car washes, training sessions and nominating us as their chosen charity. The response has been fantastic.”
Albrighton & Cosford Community First Responders opted for a BMW X1 due to its reliability, ability to cross rough terrain and be modified to store crucial equipment, such as defibrillators, monitors, oxygen and airway management aides.
The car will carry the full ‘Community First Responders’ livery and has the latest communications technology in place to ensure all calls can be answered quickly.
All of the four volunteers have been trained to the latest national qualifications and work, on average, 20 hours each per month. They have responded to more than 150 incidents, covering cardiac arrests, blood loss, breathing issues, as well as dealing with falls, sprains and potential broken bones.
The current response area is primarily Albrighton and Cosford, although coverage includes the local hamlets of Badger, Beckbury, Ryton and Tong.
Dave Fitton, Chairman of the Albrighton & Cosford Community First Responders, continued:
“The event on Saturday was our way of saying a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the fundraising – between us all we have been able to secure a vehicle that will help us do our jobs better and hopefully save even more lives.
“People came along, sat in the car, take a look at some of our equipment and met us all. We answered questions on what we do and how we do it, not to mention delivering a number of live first aid demonstrations.”
He concluded: “Whilst the fundraising was a real team effort, we need to say a special thank you to Shropshire Masonic Lodges, the Wynn Foundation, Parish Councils, RAF Cosford, Timmins Waste Services, Albrighton Fire Station, John Marshall and the Crown Public House in the village.”