Dedicated Colin from Alfriston hangs up his hat

Colin Burden retires
Colin Burden retires

He has dedicated his life to caring for other people.

Now Colin Burden, who has spent 52 years with the ambulance service, is hanging up his hat for good and retiring.

Colin, who lives in Alfriston, was also responsible for Heartstart, a first community response team which works with South East Coast Ambulance Service to attend 999 calls before the ambulance arrives.

He set up the team after retiring as a paramedic. The voluntary group has saved many lives since it was set up in 2003, by providing first support to patients such as using defibilators for patients in cardiac arrest.

Colin, who retires today (Friday, April 25), said: “I have enjoyed my time looking after people.

“Last year was very busy and very rewarding as well. To think that people who were so close to death have come back to life. I treated two people, one who had a cardiac arrest on the South Downs, and both of them seem to be fully recovered. The man on the downs was a miracle.

“It will feel strange not to do it any more but it is one of those things where it’s time to move on in life.

“I would like to thank all of the people in the area for their support and for helping us with fundraising.

“The team will continue when I have gone and we have a very good team.”

The team has grown to the point where there are now seven responders who attended more than 300 emergency 999 calls in 2013. Last year alone Colin was directly responsible for saving two people’s lives following heart attacks.

Colin started his ambulance service as a volunteer with St John’s Ambulance in Eastbourne in 1962, aged 15.

He joined the ambulance service full time in 1969, aged 21, until his retirement in 2003. Not content with helping the public in the ambulance service, Colin also joined the RNLI, serving on the Eastbourne lifeboat for 21 years from 1969 to 1990.

During his nearly ten years as a Community First Responder, Colin has received two awards for conspicuous service and he and wife Christine have been invited to the Queen’s garden party in May.

Christine who is also retiring has also given hugely to the community, having been a Samaritan for 20 years and main fundraiser for the Heartstart team, as well as supporting Colin in all his work.

One of Colin’s most memorable moments was when he was former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s personal paramedic when she was in Eastbourne in 1990 at the height of the IRA campaign.

Colin will be celebrating his retirement with a party with friends and family in Alfriston.