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Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Official Presentation Ceremony

18th August 2016

The Stalham & Smallburgh First Responder Group had a very special afternoon at the official presentation of their Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The group received news of their award at the beginning of June. North Norfolk District Council hosted the ceremony at a packed New Victory Hall in Neatishead and the presentation was carried out by the Queen's representative in Norfolk, Richard Jewson JP, MA, DCL, HM Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, who praised the work of the group and of all voluntary organisations in Norfolk.
Among the guests were High Sheriff, Major General Sir William Cubitt KCVO CBE; North Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb and Civic Leaders. The citation was read by Deputy Lieutenant Paddy Seligman OBE JP DL and the award was accepted on behalf of the group by Mervyn Hardingham and Linda Darby.
Dr. Tim Thirst gave an acceptance speech on behalf of the group. This year two new members had passed their training and assessments and he thanked local councils, community groups and individuals who had helped raise the funds for their equipment. He explained that the group is currently training four new members to join in the next six months and has to raise £2000 to fund equipment for each one.
After the official ceremony was over, members and guests were treated to celebratory cake and drinks.
The group would like to thank those who nominated them and the Deputy Lieutenants who led the assessment process and advised the Lord Lieutenant.

Mervyn Hardingham and Linda Darby accepting the award from the Lord Lieutenant.


Members of the group and guests after the official presentation.

Meet the Team

Other News Stories

27th February 2015 Group Celebrates 10 Years

July 2014 New First Responder Uniform approved by EEAST

27th May 2014 Thank You Stalham Crafts & Hobbies

10th May 2014 Award for Tim Thirst

20th May 2014 Safety Training at Neatishead Pre-School

Who Are We ?

We are a group of volunteers who respond to emergency calls in the area where we live or work on behalf of the East of England Ambulance Service. Our aim is to reach a potential life threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the Ambulance crew arrive on scene.

Community First Responders are dispatched to the patient by Ambulance Control to an area where the ambulance cannot realistically reach the collapsed patient within the first 8 minutes. Our purpose is to try to make a difference in our community, helping to stabilise the collapsed patient and, in doing so, help to keep the patient alive until the arrival of the more highly skilled Ambulance crew, who are trained to undertake further life saving techniques.

If the Ambulance Service can send a Community First Responder who is trained in basic life support, the use of a defibrillator and in administering oxygen to the collapsed patient within three to four minutes, the patientís chances of survival will increase by 10% for every minute that the Community First Responder is there prior to the arrival of the Ambulance crew.


One of our First Responders, Dr. Tim Thirst, is a business efficiency consultant who has worked with the emergency services for thirty years. As a result of poor ambulance response times which became apparent in 2010 he was asked by Norman Lamb MP to prepare a report which is entitled "Best Practice in the use of First Responders in the UK". 

Dr. Anthony Marsh, CEO of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, was asked by the Department of Health, to review the operation of the East of England Ambulance Service. In his report he endorsed the recommendations by Dr. Thirst and encouraged its full implementation. 

The report can be read here: "Best Practice in the use of First Responders in the UK"

If you would like to train as a First Responder, please email us your details, or ring Tim on 01692-650865 and we will give you more information.

The Stalham & Smallburgh Group cover the seaside villages of Bacton, Walcott, Happisburgh, Eccles, Sea Palling, Waxham & Horsey; the inland villages of Hempstead, Ingham, Lessingham, East Ruston, Ridlington, Witton, Crostwight, Honing, Worstead, Smallburgh, Swanton Abbot, Tunstead, Beeston and Ashmanhaugh; as well as the Norfolk Broads villages of Hickling, Catfield, Potter Heigham, Sutton, Dilham, Wayford, Irstead, Neatishead, Barton Turf and the town of Stalham. 

(coverage map)

We receive no funding from the ambulance service. 
If you would like to make a donation to help us, you can do so securely, by clicking the Donate button below.
Thank you

If you would like to donate a specific piece of equipment please click here to view our Wish List

Click Here for Links to other Norfolk First Responder Groups

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