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Coronavirus: Newbury paramedics 'overwhelmed' by generous gifts from residents

Emergency workers talk about their experiences during pandemic

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886633

Coronavirus: Newbury paramedics 'overwhelmed' by generous gifts from residents

TWO ambulance workers received a surprise donation from residents after being called to an emergency in Newbury.

Paramedic Lewis Tremlin and emergency care assistant Deena Prior were recently called to a medical emergency in Bartlemy Road. 

Arriving in separate vehicles, the emergency workers took the patient to hospital in the ambulance, leaving the response car parked in the street. 

When they returned to the road, they saw residents congregating around the front of the car.

Mrs Prior, 34, said: “There was a big congregation, it looked like most of the street. They put lots of stuff on the vehicle. It was quite overwhelming.

“There was a real sense of community spirit.”

Mr Tremlin, 25, said: “They had covered the car windscreen with gifts. Wine, crisps, chocolate all sorts, which was lovely.”

More people then started to come out with treats and kept running back for more.

Mrs Prior said: “We got a nice card as well ‘to Newbury Ambulance Station with love from Bartlemy Road’.

“It’s not something we get all the time.  Obviously the last few months have been pretty tough, so it was well received and appreciated.”

The gifts and card were taken to Newbury Ambulance Station, where they were shared.

“It was really nice to feel appreciated,” he said. “Everybody felt loved. It was a nice gesture not only for us, but for everybody at base.”

The gesture of leaving gifts on an ambulance, known as an ambulance hit, in Bartlemy Road follows people across the country turning out to clap for carers on Thursday evenings.

Mr Tremlin, a paramedic for 18 months, said it had felt strange at first – “a bit pushed in the limelight, but nice to be appreciated”.

He said: “You notice a few people who will walk and nod like they know you.

“People were clapping while driving along and giving a thumbs up, things like that – it’s not what we are used to.”

Mrs Prior, from Thatcham and an emergency care assistant since 2018, said: “It was a little bit weird to start with – when everybody started clapping and banging saucepans.

“We had to deal with a lot of poorly patients, but that’s what our job is. Having all this extra attention felt a little bit unusual.

“It’s been really nice that our work has been appreciated.”

Speaking about working for the ambulance service during the pandemic, she said: “To start with it was incredibly busy.

“Everybody panicked when the coronavirus came about. 

“People thought we were testing – obviously we weren’t.”

She said things had calmed down once more information became available, including not everyone needing to go to hospital if they had the virus.

“There was a bit of an increase to start with. After about two months it did slow down to the point where nobody was calling us. It went down to quite low numbers.

“We did find ourselves having quiet days, which in the ambulance service is not heard of.

“In the last month or so it’s picking back up to our normal types of calls. A lot of people that should have called us didn’t.

“People weren’t calling us when they needed us as they didn’t want us there or they thought we were busy and didn’t want to put additional strain on us.”

Mr Tremlin lives in Bracknell, but is based at Newbury “because Newbury is so nice I’m happy to do the commute”. 

He said there had been lots of changes around PPE, hospitals and A&E departments and waiting for Government guidance.

“A lot of people were not wanting to go to hospital and probably should have. I think we are quite privileged in that we have not seen it too bad like intensive care and hospitals have.” 

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