Five members of staff from the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list for the part they played in responding to the London bombings on 7 July.
“I am delighted that their contribution has been recognised. I know they also accept these awards on behalf of all their colleagues who stood alongside them on that tragic day,” said Service Chief Executive Peter Bradley CBE.
Director of Operations, Martin Flaherty, who co-ordinated the Service’s response on 7 July, has been awarded an OBE.
Paramedic William Kilminster, Acting Duty Station Officer Peter Swan, Contract Operations Manager Roy Webb, and Paramedic and UNISON trade union representative Jim Underdown, all received MBEs.
Martin Flaherty, 47, who became Director of Operations earlier this year, is a veteran of attending and managing major incidents during his 26-year career and his outstanding leadership during the tragic events of 7 July has been widely praised and recognised around the world.
He undertook the same leadership role at the Ladbroke Grove train crash in 1999 and also attended train crashes at Clapham, Cannon Street and Southall, along with IRA bombs in Regents Park and Hyde Park.
Martin said: “I am delighted to receive an OBE and proud to accept it on behalf of the Service and all those many members of our staff who were involved on 7 July.
“I have been involved in a number of large-scale incidents but 7 July was obviously different and very difficult.
“It was the most complex and most challenging incident the Service has had to get control of but everyone did a superb job.”
William Kilminster, 37, a Team Leader based at Camden Ambulance Station with 16 years’ service, was one of the first members of staff to arrive at Russell Square station on 7 July and played a vital role in assessing and treating casualties.
He walked from the station along the tunnel to meet the wreckage of the bombed train where he assessed the scene and prioritised patients according to their injuries.
William also offered comfort to many of the walking wounded who were helped up to ground level deeply shocked and traumatised.
He said: “I was the first person on the train but I was really proud of all my colleagues who did a great job working together.
“There were seven LAS staff in the bombed carriage and I was part of that team so this award is for them as well and for all LAS staff that were involved that day.
“It’s nice to see on television the patients that I treated who have made an amazing recovery and I am very proud with the way the Service handled such a tragic event and of course delighted to receive the award.”
William has been involved in treating patients at several major incidents over the years, including the Paddington train crash and several IRA bombs, but says the highlight of his career was when he had to help a dad deliver a baby over the phone. His subsequent meeting with the father of the baby was featured on the TV programme ‘999’.
Peter Swan, 33, who is based at St John’s Wood Ambulance Station, acted as incident manager at the scene of the Edgware Road Underground bomb which involved ensuring that the operation was carried out efficiently and professionally in extremely demanding circumstances.
While successfully managing to keep calm at a chaotic scene he allocated staff to their appropriate roles and liaised closely with the other emergency services.
He said: “It was an extremely daunting experience and without the hard work of the crew at the scene it would have been much more difficult to manage.
“I was really surprised to find out about the MBE and I am very proud on behalf of everyone who worked on 7 July.
“I feel honoured to receive it but, like everyone else, I was just there basically doing my job and what I am paid for but it is nice to be recognised in this way.”
Jim Underdown, 61, served the Service for 30 years at St John’s Wood and Barnet ambulance stations, and was one of the first paramedics to attend the bus bombing in Tavistock Square on 7 July.
He was also one of the first on the scene at the Harrods bomb 20 years earlier. A long-serving UNISON union representative, Jim has just retired from the Service and now lives in Spain.
Roy Webb, 60, received the MBE for the pivotal role he played in co-ordinating the immense support given to frontline crews by the Patient Transport Service, which helped care for the walking wounded following the bomb blasts.
He said: “I was helping to co-ordinate operations on the day and it is nice that the work people did in the background on 7 July helping to support our accident and emergency colleagues has been recognised.”
Roy has more than 30 years’ public service and is currently a contract operations manager with the Service.
– Ends –
Notes to editors:
For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7921 5113.