A couple with six decades of life saving experience have been recognise for their outstanding contribution.

St John Ambulance volunteers Sandra Newman, 71, and her husband John, 71, were named ‘Support Volunteer of the Year’ and ‘Community Hero’ at St John Ambulance's annual Everyday Heroes awards.

The Epping duo help run the life saving community first responder (CFR) scheme in London and have dedicated themselves to ensuring communities have fast access to life saving first aid.

In emergency help careers that stretch back to the 1960s they have been instrumental in establishing community first responder schemes in Epping, London and further afield.

Responders are trained volunteers who operate from their own home or workplace and are dispatched by the NHS ambulance service in response to 999 calls, at the same time as an ambulance to attend potentially life threatening medical emergencies.

Mrs Newman said: “The people we go to are always so grateful, you can see the relief in their faces when we knock at their front door.

“It’s not just the patients but the reassurance to the worried relatives who are often really scared.

"The benefits of having CFRs in our communities are well worth all the effort.”

A decade after John and Sandra helped set up a CFR scheme in London, there are 78 teams of volunteers operating across the London boroughs, who have been despatched to 4,500 calls so far in 2018.

Picking up the Community Hero accolade for his key role in the CFR scheme, Mr Newman paid tribute to his fellow volunteers.

“Winning this award is fantastic, but we couldn’t do all of this incredible work within our communities without the remarkable team around us,” he said.

“I’d like to particularly mention Amanda Parker, John Joseph, Marian Thompson, Mike Threadgold and Darien Skinner who all provide exceptional management support.

“They also undertake regular volunteer shifts as CFRs and event first aiders as well as their management roles.

“Their selfless commitment keeps our life saving scheme going, being there for their communities when they need them most.

“I am very proud to have these folk as my friends and colleagues.”