SIXTY nine North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) volunteers have been awarded for their voluntary service at an annual awards ceremony.

Volunteer community first responders (CFR), ambulance car service drivers (ACS) and hospital porters play a vital role in helping the trust deliver high quality patient care.

CFRs are volunteers who are trained to deal with emergencies prior to the arrival of an ambulance, and can provide early life saving treatment in the first few crucial minutes of an emergency.

In the last year, 280 volunteers dedicated their time and committed 186,000 hours to the ambulance service.

The NEAS volunteer development team supports the volunteers and their work has enabled the trust to become the first ambulance service to gain Investing in Volunteers accreditation.

This year’s awards ceremony was held at the Emirates Riverside Stadium in Chester-le-Street on June 5.

NEAS acting chief operating officer Victoria Court said: “The service values the support of all its volunteers and in the last year, some volunteers have been issued with new equipment and uniform.

“The Department of Health has asked NEAS to be the first in the country to trail the National Mobilisation App (NMA) with our CFRs, which enables critical communications between responding resources and control rooms.”