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Ambulance volunteer from Liskeard retires after 66 years

Ambulance volunteer from Liskeard retires after 66 years

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 2:32pm 8th June 2020. (Updated at 6:10am 9th June 2020)

An award-winning South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) volunteer community responder is taking a well-earned retirement after helping people in need for almost seven decades. 

Mike Kemp, from Liskeard, began his volunteering as a cadet with St John Ambulance in 1954. He was a long-serving officer with the organisation before finishing in 2006. 

Mike has been a SWASFT Community First Responder (CFR) since 2002, treating thousands of patients in and around Liskeard, Looe and Par – and saving many lives. 

His legacy will continue through his son Richard who is a SWASFT Paramedic, and the new volunteers Mike has trained. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being a volunteer responder. No two days of responding are the same. But it’s a privilege to be part of such a wonderful team, and know you are making a difference to people. Once I was called onto a train to treat an unconscious diabetic patient who attacked the guard when he regained consciousness. Another time, when I was called to a care home, I was told that the elderly resident I was treating was just asleep and the real patient was on the other side of the room!”

             Mike Kemp, volunteer

One of Mike’s proudest achievements was becoming the first person to defibrillate a patient in 1988. 

His volunteering with SWASFT was recognised in 2018 when he was given the Volunteer of the Year accolade at the Unsung Hero Awards. 

Mike Kemp award

Julia Cleeland-Smith, SWASFT Community Responder Officer for Cornwall, said: “I have been amazed at the dedication and commitment that Mike has given to support patients, community responders and enhanced first aid to the public.” 

CFRs are trained volunteers who provide crucial treatment in the vital first few minutes of life-threatening emergencies while an ambulance is on the way. 

During Volunteers’ Week, SWAST has been celebrating the invaluable work of its 800 volunteers who respond to around 40,000 patients a year across the South West. 

What is South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT)? 

  • provides emergency and urgent care across an area of 10,000 square miles - covering Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Bristol, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire - which is 20% of mainland England and is predominately rural.
  • serves a resident population of over 5.5 million people, with an estimated annual influx of more than 23 million tourists. We deal with around 2,500 incidents a day.  
  • employs more than 4,000 staff across 131 sites including 96 ambulance stations, and two clinical hubs in Bristol and at our headquarters in Exeter.
  • South Western Ambulance Charity uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service, and to improve the welfare of SWASFT staff and volunteers. For more information and to donate, click on this link: http://www.swambulancecharity.org/donate

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