Bishop Monkton Life Savers

     A dedicated team
     of trained volunteers
     is on stand-by to 
     respond when anyone
     suffers a  heart attack

Award recognises their 'outstanding service' to Bishop Monkton


Linda Milson from Yorkshire Ambulance Service presents the award to first responders Jonathan Beer and David Banks and Co-ordinator Richard Field.  The award also recognised the dedication and hard work of responder Peter Holley and co-ordinators Roger Baker and Alison Holley who could not be present for the photo shoot.



For the past nine years volunteers have maintained a first responder team in Bishop Monkton, ready to respond when anyone in the village suffers a heart attack or similar emergency.

And this week the group's work was recognised when Yorkshire Ambulance presented them with a special award highly commending them in the Scheme of the Year for North Yorkshire competition.

The scheme started in 2009 after the village won Communications Category Award in the Village of the Year competition, bringing with it a £500 prize.

Richard Field, who runs the website, contacted Richard Houseman, then Chairman of the Village Hall, and suggested the money should be spent on buying equipment to set up a first responder team in the village. Richard Houseman readily endorsed the plan and the two of them worked hard to get the scheme up and running.

In the initial stages the village website was used to announce the plan and drew a wonderful response with over 40 people volunteering to take part.

One of the first responses came from Jonathan Beer who himself had earlier suffered a serious heart attack and whose life was saved by  the quick action of first responders. Jonathan has remained in the team ever since and is still a very active member.

How the team operates

This is how the scheme works. When somebody phones 999 to report a heart attack or suspected attack in Bishop Monkton or surrounding area the duty dispatcher at Yorkshire Ambulance Service immediately dispatches an ambulance and straight afterwards alerts the on duty responder at Bishop Monkton Life Savers.

The local responder has the advantage of being ‘on the spot’ and can often reach the victim and start treatment before the ambulance arrives. This is very important because often minutes or even seconds can count in getting treatment under way.  

Before they join the team volunteers will receive a full training from Yorkshire Ambulance Service teaching them all the skills necessary to treat a heart attack victim or other possibly life threatening conditions. This will include how to use a defibrillator, giving CPR and administering oxygen.

Over the years members of the team have been called out on numerous occasions to attend local emergencies. But, regrettably, over the years the the number of volunteers in the Bishop Monkton team has declined, due to various factors, until today it is reduced to a team of just three front line responders  - Jonathan Beer, Peter Holley and David Banks - who still remarkably manage to provide cover most days every month.

They are backed up by three co-ordinators - Richard Field, Roger Baker and Alison Holley.

Could YOU join us?

However, to provide an even more comprehensive community service, the group really needs three more responders to join their front line troops, so that the work load can be more shared out. It would make a big difference if even a couple of new recruits could join them, even if only able to offer a few hours each month.

It is hoped this award and the publicity which has accompanied it will encourage just a few more villagers to come forward. This way the future of the Life Savers is assured and it will become even more effective.

Anyone interested should call Richard Field via or telephone him on 01765 677795. Richard will then arrange for them to meet and have a chat with one of the front line responders who can explain the job in more detail. Making contact in this way will not imply any commitment, but will give those interested a chance to know whether it is something they would feel confident to take on.

Those who respond and after a chat still decide they wish to go further will attend a weekend session when full training will be given to them by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service before joining our team.

There are few ways villagers can offer a more worthwhile service to the community than by joining the team and potentially saving lives, so we hope at least three volunteers will make contact.

* Details will soon be announced about the installation of a second defibrillator for the village. This follows a recent defibrillator awareness session at the Village Hall.

 Flashback to 2009 when the team was just starting up.. 
In the centre is Jonathan Beer, one of the first recruits.
  Another group of volunteers pictured in the early years
  of the scheme. Peter Holley is on the extreme right.