A VOLUNTEER from Tynedale has been honoured for making himself available to the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) for more than 30 hours each week.

Newbrough resident Dunmail Hodkinson was named Volunteer of the Year at the recent NEAS NHS Foundation Trusts’ Beyond the Call of Duty Awards, which celebrate the contribution of its employees each year.

Mr Hodkinson volunteered as a community first responder, trained scores of local people how to save lives and was a guardian for 10 public access defibrillators in the area, with NEAS stating during the awards ceremony that ‘he gave members the best chance of survival in the event of a cardiac arrest’.

A software engineer, his day job supports the NHS by developing systems to help share information between different organisations which provides more consistent care for patients.

Through his voluntary work with NEAS, he had delivered first aid training to more than 500 people over eight years.

Mr Hodkinson said: “I was gobsmacked to have won the category for volunteer of the year.

“All the volunteers nominated for this award have contributed a huge amount and I think all would have been worthy winners – to be picked out from such a group is really special, especially as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

“I’m really proud that they think I’m doing a good job. The community first responders and our managers from NEAS are a great set of folk to know, and to find out how much they appreciate the work I put in is very special.”

There were other NEAS workers honoured during the ceremony.

Owen Byrne and Peter Leach, community paramedics at Haltwhistle and Bellingham respectively, received long service awards. Mr Byrne has worked for the ambulance service for more than 30 years, and Mr Leach 25 years plus.