Tribute to Lewes ambulance service stalwart

Lewes man Sonny Playford, a long-serving ambulance stalwart who touched the hearts of many, has died at the age of 87.

He cared for literally thousands of patients during his 30-year career.

His funeral cortege was accompanied by a South East Coast Ambulance Service escort, which also provided a guard of honour in tribute.

Mr Playford was Lewes born and bred. He was working as a pageboy at the old Cinema Deluxe on School Hill when he was called up in 1944.

He joined the St John Ambulance Service in Timberyard Lane in 1962 and later moved on to the East Sussex Ambulance Service, where he was based in Lewes. He retired as a Leading Ambulance Man in 1991. That was when he changed his name by Deed Poll from Frederick William to Sonny Frederick William. He had been given the nickname by his mother, who had a particular affection for the singer Al Jolson and his hit Sonny Boy.

Mr Playford, who died at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, leaves a widow, Joan, and children John and Tina. His family have passed on their thanks for the support, flowers and cards they have received from so many.