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Fundraising for Lowestoft's 999 emergency responders

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 April 2011

Lowestoft community first responder Barry Barber  is getting ready for his sponsored 10k row to raise funds for the First responder crew.

Lowestoft community first responder Barry Barber is getting ready for his sponsored 10k row to raise funds for the First responder crew.

Archant © 2011

WHILE most people tuck into their breakfast or setting off for work tomorrow morning, one Lowestoft man will be rowing 10k for charity.

Lowestoft community first responders Barry Barber (left), Andy Mower (centre) and Debbie Plant (right).

At 7.30am tomorrow Barry Barber, 20, will undertake the 6.2 mile sponsored row at Gunton Hall in aid of the Lowestoft Responders. As an active member of the community first responder charity, which works alongside the East of England Ambulance Service, it is a cause close to Mr Barber’s heart.

The Responders is a group of dedicated volunteers who respond to 999 calls on behalf of the ambulance NHS trust in and around the town, from Hopton and Herringfleet to Pakefield and Kessingland. Trained by paramedics to administer emergency first aid and use equipment such as a heart defibrillator, there are currently ten active members on call 24 hours a day for 52 weeks of the year.

“I helped out with a charity row when I was a school and using the rowing machine in the gym,” said Mr Barber, who lives in Gunton.

“I thought it was a challenge I could complete so, at a bout 11.30pm one night after work, I decided to do it.”

Every year Mr Barber, who is an entertainer for Warner Leisure at Gunton Hall Hotel off Gunton Lane, raises money for Lowestoft Responders and has previously put on a brave face for a sponsored chest wax.

The fund-raising row is taking place in the public gym and should take just under an hour to complete.

Every penny raised will help the Responders buy vital equipment that makes their work possible. While the ambulance service supplies training and one mobile phone, every thing else must be paid for by the volunteers themselves.

“I got involved with the charity when I started university,” said Mr Barber, who studied managing of uniformed public services.

“I graduated in January 2009 and I’ve been an active responder since. I am now the group’s treasurer.

“The ambulance service is something we all rely on a some point in our lives. What the responders can do is be on the scene of an incident within minutes and that time can make all the difference. A lot of responders will have links to medical professions or someone with a medical background in their family. I just wanted to give something back.

“What’s great is that I can give as much or as little time as I wish, my work very kindly gave me the time to train and there’s a fantastic social aspect.”

In the two years that Mr Barber was been a responder he has attended a huge variety of incidents, but admitted that they all leave a lasting impression.

He said: “There isn’t one in particular that stands out because they all involve different people so every single incident is unique.”

Lowestoft Responders is currently appealing to more volunteers - in particular to cover south Lowestoft.

To find out more and to sponsor Mr Barber search for Lowestoft Responders on Facebook or email lowestoftresponders@googlemail.com.

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