Could You Become A Lifesaver?

by Catherine Smyth Media

ROSSENDALE’s busy Community First Responders save lives.

Established in 2003, the Rossendale team supports the work of the ambulance service and is one of the busiest in the North West.

Volunteers are all ages and from different professions but have one thing in common – a desire to make a difference.

“You never forget your first call out,” said managing director William Dyer, who qualified as a responder two years’ ago and is pictured above.

“Mine was to a suspected heart attack. The adrenaline was pumping and there was a level of excitement.”

On arrival, he realised the elderly lady was choking and, thanks to William’s intervention, she recovered.

William added: “Now, no matter where I am, in an airport or a supermarket, if someone needs help then I am confident to take control and am able to give assistance when it is needed.”

Retired nurse Ken Sutcliffe, from Whitworth, said: “When you go into someone’s house and they are gasping for breath and you are able to calm them down, give them oxygen and by the time the ambulance arrives they are breathing better, you have done something worthwhile. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction.”

Sales manager Tony Schofield, from Waterfoot, said: “I have always been interested in the medical side of things but I never pushed myself to do it so when I saw the advert for Community First Responders I decided to do it voluntarily.

“It gives me the chance to put something back into the community and it is very rewarding.”

Serving for more than three decades in the Royal Marines and the police stood Michael Varlow, from Edenfield, in good stead when he decided to become a Community First Responder.

“I thought I had all those years of practical experience in the services that I could put to good use and I knew that I was calm in a crisis,” he said.

Weir-based recruitment consultant Russell Murray said: “As a First Responder you have a direct effect on people. It is very satisfying that you can do something for someone.

“I have met some really interesting people – one had crossed Russia on a train while another had been in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

“As a First Responder I can work my volunteer hours around my work.”

Additional volunteer Responders are being sought from Crawshawbooth, Rawtenstall, Edenfield, Weir and Whitworth.

Responders are needed to provide cover during the day, in the evening and at weekends, with each volunteer working to their availability.

All Responders must commit to full training organised by the North West Ambulance Service, which includes an assessment at the end. No previous first aid knowledge necessary but commitment is required,

If you are interested in finding out more please log on to or call 0845 0021 999.

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