Community responder says 'go for it'

Cotswold Journal: WHAT A HERO: Graham Wride who has been a community responder for the last seven years WHAT A HERO: Graham Wride who has been a community responder for the last seven years

AT the age of 72, you might think Graham Wride would be putting his feet up and enjoying his retirement.

But the former nurse, psychiatric nurse and a mental welfare officer still volunteers his services for up to 40 hours a week as a Community First Responder (CFR).

Mr Wride, of Wickhamford, near Evesham, has been responding to medical emergencies for the last seven years after signing up as he approached retirement.

And since then he has responded to more than a thousand call-outs.

“I very much remember the first case," he said. "A gentleman in our village who had fallen. He was quite a poorly man, he was unable to get off the floor.

"With the paramedic who backed me on the call we determined he had been on the floor for some considerable time.

"We eventually got him back onto his bed and the paramedic arranged for some follow-up care for him. The gentleman eventually went into a care home."

Mr Wride, who is a Trustee of the Hereford & Worcester Community First Responders and a member of St John Ambulance in Evesham, said he remembers very well the first cardiac arrest he went to.

" I have to admit it was a very frightening experience," he said. "It was frightening because it was the first one. It was in a public place, in a shop. I managed to get to defibrillate the man three times before a back-up crew had arrived.

"They were happy with the way I dealt with it. I did explain to them it was my first arrest – they said I had handled the situation very well."

To become a Community First Responder, Mr Wride was trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service.

But he said he could not do it without the support of the community:

“They raised the money for the kit that I carry, specifically the Wickhamford Sports and Social Club who raised about £3,000," he said. "They have been very, very supportive. They have been a tremendous financial help to me which has allowed me more time to do the work that I do in the community."

He said he plans to continue responding for as long as he can, but more volunteers are needed in Evesham’s other outlying villages such as Broadway, Pebworth and Honeybourne.

“If you are thinking about it – go for it," he added. "It is a very worthwhile thing to do. It is very satisfying in many respects particularly when you manage to revive someone.”

For details about the work of Community First Responders or to become one, visit wmas.nhs.uk.

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