AN OSWESTRY community first responder has been praised for her volunteer work at the Welsh Ambulance Service annual event

International Volunteer Day (Tuesday, December 5) is an annual celebration of the contribution that millions of people across the globe make through volunteering.

Almost 600 volunteers give up their time to support the ambulance service in Wales, including 460 community first responders and 110 volunteer car service drivers.


Among them is Effie Cadwallader, aged 70, from St Martins, near Oswestry, who has attended more than a 1,000 999 calls since she began her volunteer journey.

Effie said: “I joined the CFR scheme when I was suddenly made redundant – I needed something of value to fill my days.

“It was in the very early days of CFRs, and the only first aid I’d done until that point was with the Girl Guides 30 years previously.

“I book on nearly every day for a varying number of hours, averaging five hours per day, from dawn until our daily walk time in the afternoon. 

As a member of the Wrexham Rural Community First Responders group, Effie covers a wide area of north-east Wales, from Glyn Ceiriog and Llangollen to the west, Rhosllanerchrugog and Marchwiel to the north and Bettisfield and Hanmer to the east, all centred around Chirk.

In October, the grandmother-of-one took home the Community First Responder of the Year Award from the Trust’s annual WAST Awards.

She said: “I’m often asked if I enjoy what I do.

“I reply that I can never enjoy it because I’m visiting people in distress, maybe even having the worst day of their lives.

“The best I can hope for is the satisfaction that I helped someone, that the skills which have been drummed into me were useful and that I alleviated someone’s anxiety and upset.”

Border Counties Advertizer: The December subscriptions offer for the Advertizer.

Community First Responders are volunteers who attend 999 calls in their community and administer first aid in the precious first minutes before an ambulance arrives.

They are trained by the ambulance service to administer first aid, including oxygen therapy and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as the use of a defibrillator.

Last year, they attended more than 10,000 emergencies in Wales, arriving at the scene of the most serious ‘Red’ calls in an average of nine minutes.

In 2021, the Trust launched its first Volunteers’ Strategy, which sets out how volunteers will be better integrated into the workforce and better supported to deliver the role.