Stevenage railway worker praised after dedicating thousands of hours to charity

GTR employee Lee Southgate has dedicated thousands of hours to St John's Ambulance Trust. Picture: S

GTR employee Lee Southgate has dedicated thousands of hours to St John's Ambulance Trust. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Govia Thameslink Railway has shared the story of a Stevenage–based employee who has dedicated his time outside of work to giving back to his community, as part of Volunteers Week.

Train operator Govia Thameslink has been publicising some of their workforce’s stories – with one Stevenage resident singled out for praise for his voluntary work with the St. John Ambulance Trust.

In his day job, Lee Southgate drives Great Northern trains for Govia Thameslink Railway as a shunter.

But in his own time, he has been volunteering as an emergency ambulance crew member working alongside frontline paramedics during the coronavirus crisis and for years before that.

The father-of-two has been a St John Ambulance volunteer for the last eight years and, thanks to this experience and training, he has also been able to support the NHS ambulance service during a surge in demand due to the pandemic.

A normal shift for Lee has been 10am to 10pm, responding to 999 calls and providing welfare to patients and just last week, Lee helped save a life.

The 31-year-old, who lives in Stevenage, said: “Lots of people have been doing their bit to support the community.

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“I’m already a key worker with work, but with those eight years’ training/skills I’ve received, I can take my volunteering to the next level and be there in someone’s time of need and make that difference from a life lost to a life saved.

“It has felt amazing to be helping, whether it’s been just being there to talk to someone or making that difference in a life-changing moment.”

At work, Lee is based out of GTR’s Hornsey depot where he has been a Great Northern shunter driver for eight years.

He usually gives around 1,000 hours a year to St John Ambulance mainly through his days off or in the evenings.

He added: “My managers have been very supportive with what I’ve been doing and have always said they will try and help me if I need to cover extra ambulance shifts.”

Like many charities, St John Ambulance has been struggling with funding during the pandemic.

But thanks to Lee they received a cash injection of £1,120 after he donned a tutu and went on a fundraising bike ride.

Lee said: “I ended up cycling 16 miles, doing it in five hours and for an unfit person this was a massive achievement. I did hit a few walls, but I got over them and completed it and I raised the most I’ve ever raised for anything. I can’t thank people enough for donating.”

To donate, visit Week is an annual celebration of the contribution of millions of people who volunteer across the UK, which was held this year from Monday, June 1 to Sunday, June 7.

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