A long-serving community first responder who regularly deals with life-threatening medical emergencies along the Shropshire/ Wrexham border has been honoured with the highest award to an individual volunteer by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Grandmother Effie Cadwallader from St Martins, near Oswestry,  has attended more than a thousand 999 incidents since she began volunteering with the service five years ago. Previously, she turned out to more than 3,000 emergencies during 15 years with a neighbouring ambulance service.

Now she has been named ‘Community First Responder of the Year’ from a shortlist drawn up by the Welsh service’s awards committee, which considered hundreds of nominations put forward by the public on behalf of many of the 460 CFRs across Wales.

At an awards ceremony in South Wales, Dr Brendan Lloyd, WAST’s executive medical director, commended Effie for her “excellence in the pre-hospital field where she has demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to her locality”.

Effie was unable to attend the ceremony and received the news of the prestigious accolade while celebrating a ’big birthday’ on holiday abroad with her family, including her seven-month-old grandson.

“Hearing about it on my birthday was such a lovely surprise,” she said. “It really was the icing on the cake to complete a wonderful day with my family.”

As a member of the Wrexham Rural Community First Responders group, Effie covers a wide area of north-east Wales, stretching from Tregeiriog and Glynceiriog in the west , north as far as Penycae, Marchwiel and Overton and east to  Broningon and Fenns Bank, occasionally crossing the border to the outskirts of Ellesmere.

“Though I am sorry that I rarely attend patients in my own village, joining WAST has been a truly wonderful experience,” she said.

“The care and encouragement given to the volunteers across Wales is second to none, and the warmth and friendship of every member of the service from top down is very much appreciated by the volunteers.  It’s a great honour to be recognised for the work I’ve done in Wales and I want to thank all my colleagues for the exceptional support they’ve given me.”

Effie Cadwallader – Community First Responder of the Year for Wales.