Inspirational paramedic overwhelmed after winning top award
A long-serving paramedic at London Ambulance Service (LAS) was surprised by his family on stage after winning the top award at an emotional Annual Public Meeting last night.
The audience was moved to tears as Richard Webb-Stevens was honoured for his outstanding contribution at the meeting at the LAS education centre in Brentside, west London.
Richard was recognised for exceptional dedication to his patients and colleagues while also achieving historic milestones in his 23-year-long career with the Service.
Choking up, Richard said: “I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve had in 23 years. I’ve got no plans of retiring so hopefully I’ve got another 20 more years here.
“It’s been phenomenal and it is a privilege to serve.”
Richard, who was born with profound hearing loss, added: “I am really fortunate because I’ve been really well supported by London Ambulance Service from day one.
“When you’re a deaf person growing up you get told you can’t do this or that but the ambulance service gave me the chance.”
Richard’s wife and two children joined him on stage as Richard received a standing ovation from audience members.
Wife Marie said: “It was so moving to hear the tribute to Richard – but he is special. He would do anything for anyone.
“He has run into burning buildings to save people, he was so brave treating patients during the Westminster Bridge terror attack. He is so focused on others and how he can help. He’s just the loveliest man!”
Richard’s Outstanding Contribution award concluded a night that was already full of emotion after paramedic Eva Bartoskova told the audience about the incredible humanitarian mission she took part in earlier this year to help the people of Ukraine.
Eva helped to organise a team of LAS volunteers who drove 10 decommissioned ambulances filled with medical supplies to the Polish border with Ukraine so they could be handed over to help those caught up in the tragic war.
She said: “We were humbled and proud to be part of this and I remember having this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for people who had supported our mission.
“We were on the road for three days, crossing five countries – we felt our help was very small – but when we were met by Polish paramedics they said we brought some hope to some very dark times.”
The evening opened with Chair Andy Trotter OBE QPM paying tribute to Her Majesty The Queen. He also led a one-minute silence to remember all the staff and volunteers who had died in the previous year.
Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles thanked colleagues for their hard work during what was the Service’s busiest year on record with teams answering more than 2.2million 999 calls and the same number of 111 calls.
Daniel added: “We have routinely been one of the top performing ambulance services in the country for responding to our sickest patients. While we remain proud of that performance, we recognise that we have more to do to further reduce our response times.”
You can watch the full Annual Public Meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvHmlDMk3TE
For a full review of 2021/22 you can find our Annual Report here: https://www.londonambulance.nhs.uk/about-us/our-publications/