Wendy Herbert (right), the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing, has been awarded the King’s Ambulance Service Medal (KAM) for distinguished service, it was announced tonight.
Community First Responder Gerry Adams has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for voluntary services to the community in Barry.
And Linda Williams (left), Volunteer Support Administrator, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Community First Responder scheme in north Wales.
Chief Executive Jason Killens said: “We’re beyond thrilled that Wendy, Gerry and Linda have been recognised in the King’s New Year Honours List.
“Wendy’s commitment to the delivery of high-quality patient care knows no bounds, while Gerry and Linda’s contribution to volunteering goes above and beyond the call of duty.
“We’re especially pleased that His Majesty has recognised not one, but two members of our volunteering family.
“These awards celebrate some of our very best ambulance professionals, and I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Wendy, Gerry and Linda, of whom we are incredibly proud.”
Wendy Herbert, of Merthyr Tydfil, is a registered nurse who began her NHS Wales career in 1988.
She has held several senior clinical roles across Wales, including as the Head of Nursing for Children and Specialist Public Health at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Wendy was appointed the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing in 2014.
Liam Williams, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, said: “The work Wendy leads on patient experience and community involvement is celebrated not only within the UK ambulance sector, but across the wider NHS Wales and beyond.
“Wendy has been a passionate advocate for patient safety and our people through a period of significant challenge, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
“She works closely with the Chief Executive to support conversations with families who have lost a loved one and where there is learning for the ambulance service or the wider NHS.
“Wendy’s compassion is matched only by her commitment to full candour to families, and we are overjoyed that she is being recognised in the New Year Honours.”
Linda Williams joined the service in 2004 and spent 11 years as an Emergency Medical Technician before an injury meant she had to step back from her patient-facing role.
Linda, who is based in St Asaph, Denbighshire, now supports Community First Responders, the volunteers who attend 999 calls in their area and administer first aid in the precious first minutes before an ambulance arrives.
She put her retirement plans on hold in 2020 to support volunteers through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Next year, she celebrates 20 years of service.
Linda, from Wrexham, said: “Working on the road gave me enormous satisfaction, especially when you saved somebody’s life.
“Now I support volunteers, which means I still get to apply all of my clinical knowledge and can also give colleagues the benefit of my experience – it’s a different kind of satisfaction.
“Whether it’s practical or emotional support, I’m here to help them in whatever way I can – a lot of them call me ‘mum.’
“When a letter arrived from the Cabinet Office, I thought somebody was trying to sell me something.
“Then it sank in, and I just started crying.
“I can’t believe that somebody out there thinks what I do is good enough to warrant a British Empire Medal.”
Meanwhile, Gerry Adams (left), from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, developed an interest in saving lives at the tender age of 10 when he joined the St John Ambulance Brigade.
He went on to become a founding member of the St John Lifeguards and joined the RNLI at Barry Dock, spending 18 years as a volunteer crew member and 18 years as a press officer.
Gerry later joined the ambulance service as a Community First Responder and now co-ordinates the activities of the Barry and Vale of Glamorgan First Responders.
The grandfather-of-five, who is a nurse by profession, said: “I was very pleasantly surprised when I had a letter in the post.
“It’s an incredible honour to receive an MBE, which I’ll be receiving on behalf of my family – including my wife Jill and our children Paul, Matthew, Kirsty and Rebecca – who’ve endured many years of my bleeper going off and me being called away to emergencies.
“If it were not for the fantastic support of my family, I would not have been able to practice for such a long time as a volunteer – this is as much for them as it is for me.”
Almost 500 Community First Responders give up their time to support the ambulance service in Wales, and last year, they attended more than 10,000 emergencies.
Jenny Wilson, the Trust’s National Volunteer Manager, said: “Volunteering at the Welsh Ambulance Service has come a long way in the last two decades.
“The role that Community First Responders play in starting the chain of survival can mean the difference between life and death, while Volunteer Car Service drivers are a really important cog in the wheel of the non-emergency service.
“We’re delighted that Gerry and Linda’s contributions to volunteering are being recognised by His Majesty on the national stage.”
The King’s New Year Honours List celebrates those who have made exceptional contributions to their local communities and the country as a whole.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The New Year’s Honours List recognises the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion.
“To all honourees, you are the pride of this country and an inspiration to us all.”
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden added: “Everyone from Wales receiving honours today represents the best in British communities.
“I send my warmest congratulations to this year’s recipients, all of whom are incredibly deserving for what they have achieved.”