London’s longest serving paramedic today told how he still loved saving lives as he clocked up 50 years of service.
Kevin Walker, 70, joined London Ambulance Service in 1966 and still works 12 hours a week after spending just one month in retirement in 2012.
Mr Walker, who rides his bike to Ilford Ambulance Station, where he has spent his whole career, said: “The highlights have definitely been resuscitating people. I joined up because I wanted to try and help people and I still enjoy the job. Being a paramedic makes you feel you’re doing something worthwhile.”
One of his most memorable moments was saving the life of a woman he knew as a hospital receptionist. “When you see someone you know in cardiac arrest, it’s not nice,” he said. “Thankfully we brought her back and when I was out shopping she came up to my wife and said: ‘Your husband saved my life.’”
He recalled having to battle through “pea souper” fogs in the Sixties to reach emergencies.
“They used to put a third man on the ambulance who would walk in front with a foot-long wax taper,” he said. “Between walking to the patient and then to hospital they could end up walking about seven miles.
“In those days we didn’t do so much treatment – if the patient was badly injured we just had to try and stop the bleeding and get them to hospital as quickly as we could.”
He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2013 in the Queen’s birthday honours.
LAS assistant director of operations Ian Johns said: “By any measure, Kevin is an extraordinary man who has committed his life to making sure people are taken care of.”