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Royal visit to Crawley for official opening

HRH The Countess of Wessex officially opened the South East Coast Ambulance Service’s new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Headquarters.

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Crawley welcomed a member of the Royal family today (Tues 8th May) as HRH The Countess of Wessex visited the town to officially open the South East Coast Ambulance Service’s new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Headquarters.

Arriving by helicopter at Hazelwick school, the Countess was greeted by the head girl and boy before travelling by car to the new headquarters where she was welcomed by staff and local leaders.

HRH The Countess of Wessex meets Crawley Mayor Brian Quinn and Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council Natalie Brahma-Pearl.

With the sun shining the Countess was greeted by a large number of staff from the new HQ, all of whom had waited patiently in the hot sun.

Crawley MP Henry Smith welcomes the Countess.

After greeting and chatting with several local dignitaries the Countess was then taken on a tour of the new facility where she was able to speak to numerous staff about the complexities of their job.

HRH The Countess of Sussex is presented with a bouquet of flowers by resource despatcher Megan Chinery.

The royal visit was very popular with staff from all departments.

SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie with HRH The Countess of Wessex next to the unveiled plaque officially opening the new HQ.

Staff began moving into the new building in May 2017 with staff from the Trust’s former EOC in Lewes the first to relocate. EOC colleagues from the Trust’s former site in Banstead in Surrey moved to the new building in September.

The impressive home to South East Coast Ambulance Service’s new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Headquarters in Crawley.

The moves provided greater capacity across two EOCs and ensured SECAmb is better placed to manage current and future demand.

It also meant support services were brought under one roof for the first time since the formation of SECAmb in 2006 with the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance services.

The centre, with SECAmb’s other EOC in Coxheath, Kent, typically handles more than 2,000 calls every day.

The new EOC is home to some 250 staff with a further 250 support staff based on the floor above.
999 calls are answered by emergency medical advisors non-geographically across the Trust’s two EOCs. Ambulances are dispatched locally from each EOC.

A team of clinicians are also on hand in each EOC to provide advice and support to patients and colleagues.

SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie said:

“I’m delighted that our new EOC and HQ was officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex and I pleased to be able to show her around the EOC and introduce her to staff.

Given the significance of the tremendous work which goes on in the building and in particular in the EOC itself, it is appropriate that it receives this high-profile official opening.

“While it was important that we moved to the new building and the benefits it brings, I want to pay tribute to all the staff, across every department and role who are working tirelessly day-in, day-out to help our patients.

Without them, of course, this is just another building. With them, and their dedication and professionalism, we are a service which saves lives and helps people every day.”

Community

Crawley housing development named after local soldier

A new housing development in the town centre has been named after a Crawley soldier who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009.

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The Family of John Brackpool

The site of the former Kilnmead Car Park site, has been named John Brackpool Close in honour of Private John Brackpool. The development is home to 32 flats and five houses. The block of flats, has been named John Brackpool Court.

The family of Pte Brackpool, Council officers and members of the 4th Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, gathered together for an unveiling ceremony, which included readings from the Regiment’s Padre, poems and prayers.

The commemorative plaque was unveiled by Pte Brackpool’s mother, Carol, while young family members laid a remembrance wreath.

Pte John Brackpool was born in Crawley on 11 July 1981. He joined the Army and served with The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, during which time he deployed on operations to Kosovo and Iraq. He had left the Regular Army, but volunteered to serve with 1st Battalion Welsh Guards for a six-month operational tour to Afghanistan. He was killed on 9 July 2009 while on operations near Char-e-Anjir, just outside Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, two days before his 28th birthday.

Speaking at the event, Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor Ian Irvine, said:

“On behalf of the council I am delighted we have been able to honour the memory of Private Blackpool with the naming of this new development. This is a fitting tribute recognising his bravery and sacrifice and our thanks go out to his family for working with us, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment for putting together this special event and W Stirland for providing the plaque.”

Continuing this, Carol Brackpool said:

“I would like to thank the council and 4PWRR for making the day special. It was a sad but also very proud day. It’s lovely that John will be remembered.” Council developer partner, W. Stirland is developing the affordable rented housing, which are due to be completed by the end of October.

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