Stevenage ambulance officer retires after 31 years’ service

Gary Sanderson is retiring from the East of England Ambulance Service after 31 years' service

Gary Sanderson is retiring from the East of England Ambulance Service after 31 years' service - Credit: Archant

A long-serving ambulance officer is stepping down today after more than 30 years of service.

Gary Sanderson in Stevenage in 1988

Gary Sanderson in Stevenage in 1988 - Credit: Archant

Gary Sanderson started in 1983 as a plaster technician in the A&E department at Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

In 1988 he joined the Herts Ambulance Service, the predecessor to the East of England Ambulance Service, and since then has attended some of the most serious incidents in the area – including a fire at Harrow Court in Stevenage that killed three people, including two firefighters, in 2005.

During his career the father-of-three from Stevenage, who is a qualified ambulanceman, has manned every vehicle in the service’s fleet including frontline ambulances and fast response cars.

The 49-year-old – who took on a communications manager role when the East of England Ambulance Service was formed in 2006 – has also received several commendations for his work, including the Queen’s Ambulance Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

“I have had an amazing career,” said Gary, who retires from the service later today.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working alongside dedicated operational, control and support and voluntary staff.

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“When I joined all those years ago the ambulance I worked in had one stretcher – there wasn’t a back brace or a defibrillator and it was just a means of getting patients to hospital. Now they are mini-hospitals with life-saving drugs.

“The number of call outs has changed so much too. On five to six nights of the week we wouldn’t get a call, now sometimes paramedics go out for a 12-hour shift and they don’t even get a break – they are that busy.

“I will obviously miss the job very much but I am looking forward to new challenges later in the year. It’s been an honour and a privilege, and I am proud that I have be able to help many people out in their time of need.”

Comet news editor Nick Gill said: “Gary has been the first port of call for the Comet for many years when news of emergency situations breaks, providing us with the information we need to inform the public about what is happening. His dedication to his profession is clear and on behalf of the paper I’d like to thank him for all his help and support, and wish him the best of luck for the future.”