Efforts by first responders to pandemic are recognised

The first responders who received their 10-year pins are, left to right, Mark Harwood, Stuart Blake, Chris Traill, Fiona Laing, Julie Graham and Liz Evans accompanied by Susan Gardner Scottish Ambulance Service community facilitator (west).

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Community first responders on Arran have been recognised for their work during the pandemic.

Six long-serving members also received their 10-year service pins during a visit to the island by by Anne Harrison, west region community resilience paramedic team leader and Susan Gardner, community resilience facilitator (west), who also held a training session for the first responders.

The volunteers are trained by the Scottish Ambulance Service to attend certain types of emergency calls in the area where they live or work.


Their aim is to reach a potential life-threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.

As with all aspects of life, the last 16 months have been challenging for the island’s first responders.

All CFRs in Scotland were stood down from active service in March 2020 as Covid took a grip on the country.

Until this point, the North Arran group had an incredible record of being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week dating back to June 9, 2003.


An achievement to be very proud of and interrupted only by a pandemic.

By late autumn the Scottish Ambulance Service was able to provide the relevant PPE to ensure the safety of the CFRs, and patients, and the necessary training.

The North Arran Group was able to start again in November, but unfortunately is unable to return to serving the communities of Lochranza, Catacol and Pirnmill 24 hours a day at present.

Having entered the pandemic with 11 members it was understandable that after the time away some members decided not to return to responding.

But thanks go to Richard Wright, Douglas Coulter, Katy Penn and Gordon Furzer for their invaluable service to the community.

Susan Gardner, community resilience facilitator (west), Scottish Ambulance Service, said: ‘Myself and Anne were delighted to present all the community first responders on Arran with Covid Coins as a thank-you from the Scottish Ambulance Service for all their dedicated work throughout this pandemic.’

All eligible volunteers in attendance were presented with their coins, while others are to be presented to those who couldn’t make it along on the day.

Ten-year service pins were also presented to Fiona Laing, Stuart Blake, Chris Traill, Liz Evans and retired responders Julie Graham and Mark Harwood –  an amazing achievement. Richard Wright was unable to attend and will receive his at a later date.

It is hoped that the Scottish Ambulance Service will be in a position to begin recruiting and training for new community first responders after the summer.

If you live in any of the following Arran communities: North Arran – Lochranza to Pirnmill, including Whitefarland; West Arran – Shiskine and Blackwaterfoot; or South Arran – Kilmory and Sliddery – and wish to become a community first responder please fill in the application once this has been reopened for applications: www.scottishambulance.com and follow the links.

The 10 year pins presented to the first responders.