A VOLUNTEER in the Ribble Valley has become the face of North West Ambulance Service’s new education initiative #Team999.

Simon Doyle, 38, from Sabden, responds to emergencies in the area and provides help to patients before paramedics arrive as part of his role as a community first responder (CFR).

A chemical engineer in Bury with Barbe UK by day, Simon became a volunteer to help friends, neighbours and the local community when they need it most.

Simon joined the first responders 10 years ago and spent eight years with the team in Rossendale before becoming area co-ordinator for the Ribble Valley.

First responders are dispatched 36 times a day on average and most commonly attend patients with chest pains, followed by unconscious patients and those with breathing problems.

Dad-of-one Simon said: “I already had first aid qualifications before I joined and I just thought that I wasn’t putting them to enough use.

“It’s a vital role that we play, especially in rural areas and it’s great to do something that’s so different to my normal job.

“I’m really pleased to be part of the #Team999 to help people understand what CFRs are and what we can do to help.

“People I know think that I’m mad for getting up at all times of the night, but they are happy to know that me and the other CFRs are there if they ever need us.

“The best part of the role is knowing that I can make a difference to someone else’s life before the ambulance arrives.

“It is very rewarding but can also be challenging; training with your local team is vital to keep your skills up to date.”

The #Team999 campaign aims to help people to understand what they can expect from the service and that calling 999 does not always result in an ambulance response or a trip to hospital.