A South Central Ambulance Charity volunteer from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire has been honoured by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales at a very special NHS Big Tea party, marking the 75th anniversary of the NHS (Wednesday 5 July).
Robin Mugridge, 54, started volunteering at the age of seven and today is a volunteer Community First Responder for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. Having been trained by paramedics, Robin attends critical incidents to initiate patient care prior to the arrival of an ambulance and provides emergency treatment when every second counts.
Hosted by NHS Charities Together – the national charity caring for the NHS, of which Their Royal Highnesses are Patrons – and television presenter Mel Giedroyc, the event was attended by members of the workforce and patients representing myriad achievements of the NHS and NHS charities over the last 75 years. It was held in the wellbeing garden of St Thomas’ Hospital in London – a wellbeing initiative funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
Robin’s role has been supported by funding from NHS Charities Together, who fund some of the equipment volunteers use to help patients when every second counts, and he says that the feeling you get when you save a life is next to none.
Robin said: “It was a wonderful occasion with glorious weather, lovely cake and with some very special guests! It was an honour to be able to discuss my role, because I’m so proud of being part of a team that helps to save lives – it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Vanessa Casey, chief executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, added: “It is a fitting acknowledgment of the impact of our community first responder volunteers make towards patient care for them to be recognised at this special NHS 75 Big Tea celebration. We applaud and celebrate the commitment, professionalism and loyalty of all our volunteers and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their service as well as wish the NHS a happy 75th birthday.”
A surprise visit for those invited, The Prince and Princess even arrived early to help lay the tables and put finishing touches on a birthday cake. Their Royal Highnesses discussed current challenges and thanked staff for the work they continue to do, and – in the spirit of the tea party – even attempted to settle the long-standing scone debate regarding jam or cream first, with The Princess voting for jam, and Prince William preferring whatever is closest. They concluded their visit with a video message for the entire NHS: “Wishing everyone a very happy 75th birthday for the NHS. Thank you so much for all you do.”
Now entering its sixth year, the NHS Big Tea brings the nation together to celebrate the NHS and raise funds to provide the extra support needed for staff, patients, and volunteers. All funds raised from the NHS Big Tea contribute to key projects supporting the incredible NHS workforce, the long-term recovery of the NHS following Covid-19, and projects improving care for patients and communities.