Saffron Walden mayor thanks rescue team after dramatic fall

Saffron Walden Community First Responders came to the Mayor's rescue within minutes of her fall. Fro

Saffron Walden Community First Responders came to the Mayor's rescue within minutes of her fall. From left, Paul Start, councillor Keith Eden, Mayor Sandra Eden, Paul Doe and Chris Doe. - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden’s mayor has thanked volunteers who rushed to her side within minutes of a dramatic fall.

Cllr Sandra Eden was trying to fish out a pot of irises from a walled pond when she fell backwards and down some steps, breaking her wrist in two places.

First on the scene were the Community First Responders, known as Essex Zulu 11, followed by an air ambulance, and an ambulance from Addenbrookes trauma unit.

Paul Start, a former firefighter, was on duty and drove from his garage in Shire Hill to stabilise the mayor before the ambulance arrived.

“I was treated amazingly by everyone involved,” said cllr Eden, who was given Ketamine as a painkiller before being taken to Addenbrookes.

More than two months and three operations later, and cllr Eden is finally on the mend – and can’t thank the First Responders enough for their quick work.

“You don’t realise how impressive they are unless it hits you in the face – or the wrist as the case may be,” she said.

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First Responders coordinator Paul Doe said 90 per cent of the team were members of the public who willingly gave up their time - but stressed there needed to be more.

“There are two volunteers on at any one time, and we can get called to any life-threatening situation,” he said.

“We’re desperately looking for more volunteers. We want to raise more awareness of what we do, and recruit more members.”

Over a three day training course in Chelmsford, volunteers are trained in the use of oxygen therapy and an automated external defibrillator (AED) which allows them to give life-saving care until the ambulance arrives. But volunteering is not for the faint-hearted, Paul says.

“People hear about it and want to join, they think it’s all glory. But after the training course they do one operation and then you don’t hear from them again,” he said.

“Paul Start is my busiest, most active member,” he said of the mayor’s rescuer. “He’s also the owner of our mascot Boster, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.”

Essex was the first county in the UK to introduce community first responder scheme, and now has 71 groups. To find out more about the Saffron Walden group, go to You can also email, or call 0845 601 3733.