Well-loved Leicestershire paramedic clocks in for final time after 41 years of service

Well-loved Leicestershire paramedic clocks in for final time after 41 years of service

Female paramedic in green uniform

One of the very first women paramedics in Leicestershire is retiring after a phenomenal 41 years saving lives on the 999 frontline.

Patricia Withers, 66, who lives near Oadby in Leicestershire, joined the ambulance service when she was just 24 and became one of the first women in the Leicestershire service.

But Pat, fondly known as Auntie Pat to many of the staff taken under her wing, is ready to put her feet up and enjoy her well-earned retirement with her husband and dog, Patsy.

Pat joined the service on 13 April 1981 working as part of a pilot scheme to transport mental health patients within Leicestershire. Working at Welford Road Station, the main city ambulance station, Pat continued the role for six months before she applied to the service full time.

In January 1982 Pat attended Markfield in Leicestershire to complete the ‘Millar course’ where she received training in basic first aid with a few additional extended skills to help care for patients on transportation to hospital. In 1995 she further developed her skills to become a qualified paramedic.

Pat said: “I love my work, I love people and I loved being able to give that extra mile for my patients, so any time any new training came in, I always put my name forward.”

Throughout her career, Pat has come up against many challenges including the Welford Road Ambulance Station fire in 1988 where everything was destroyed including Pat’s car. Only months later, Pat came up against her biggest challenge yet, the Kegworth Air Disaster.

Pat said: “I would never like to experience what I experienced there again. I remember visiting the ward of one of the passengers I took to hospital, and as he saw me he stopped and said this young lady put her hand on my shoulder and I knew I was safe.

“It was that nice feedback which brought home the difference we made to people’s lives.”

Pat has gone from strength to strength in her career, becoming a tutor to pass on her years of knowledge and experience to new staff, as well as managing a number of stations across Leicestershire including Narborough and her current station Gorse Hill.

Looking back over her 41 years and all she has achieved, when asked what she would miss, Pat said:

“I have enjoyed the whole of my career, it’s had its up’s and downs but leaving the service now, I feel I am leaving it in a good place. I will miss the staff, greatly, it’s a lovely place to work for and a wonderful job.

Russell Smalley, Head of Operations for Leicestershire said:

“I have had the pleasure of being Pat’s line manager over a year now and countless years more as a colleague and peer.

“Pat personifies kindness and empathetic leadership and has a genuine interest in the people around her.

“This has been of real value for me over the last year and I have no doubt that it has also positively impacted countless people, be that patients or colleagues, over 41 years of impeccable service.

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside someone with the level of commitment to her role as Pat. I wish her all the very best in retirement. She deserves it!”

Pat plans to make the most of her retirement by spending it with her husband and family including her six grandchildren, but has also promised the occasional visit to Gorse Hill Ambulance Station to fill up the biscuit tin!