Paramedic hangs up his uniform after 47 years

After almost 47 years of working for the ambulance service, Paramedic John Sambrooke, has decided its time to hang up his uniform.

John, joined the ambulance service as a driver attendant in 1965 when he was just 18 years old, making him one of the longest servicing paramedics in the UK.

John, who resides in Haywood, has predominately worked within Staffordshire and has undertaken many roles within the ambulance service over the years. Alongside providing emergency medical care to the public, John is a recognised training instructor and can boast to training some of the most senior ambulance officers currently within West Midlands Ambulance Service at the start of their careers.

John joined the ambulance service when it was under the umbrella of Walsall County Borough and still remembers the registration and model of his first ambulance.

The granddad of two and father of three still has the same enthusiasm for the job today as he did the day he started. Talking about his retirement John said: “I will miss the job and all the people I work with but I will be turning 65 this and it is time for me to leave. I always joke at work that my call sign is Zimmer1.

“No doubt I will keep up to date with the latest news from the service though, as my son Russell also works as an incident support officer in Stafford. I have lots planned for when I retire, including a nice long holiday and plenty of golf!”

One role that John didn’t get the chance to take on during his time was to work as part of the aircrew on the air ambulance. However, as part of his departing gift, John was offered an observational shift with the Midlands Air Ambulance for a day.

John continued: “I was really surprised and over the moon when I found out that the shift on the air ambulance had been organised for me. I wanted to apply to be part of the aircrew in the old Trust, prior to the merger, but at the time officers were unable to do so. I didn’t think I would ever get the chance so this has really been a once in a lifetime experience. I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and for making a dream come true.”

John Vernon, Area Manager for Stafford is one of the senior officers John taught many years ago. John said: “John is an excellent member of staff and has time for everyone. I re-call first meeting John, when I was undertaking one of my first training courses. He was excellent tutor, if anyone ever had any difficulty with understanding anything John would go over and over it until it clicked. He is a well loved member of staff and will be greatly missed by all.”

Anthony Marsh, Chief Executive Officer said: “To commit to a career helping people when they need it most for almost half a century should not be under estimated, it is truly an outstanding achievement.

“I would like to personally thank him for his hard work and dedication in the ambulance service and I would like to wish him well in his retirement.” 

  John in his ambulance uniform aged 18 years old. 

Missions completed since 1991: 49,869 | On average we airlift a child every four days | Road traffic collisions make up around 35% of the incidents we attend | The service airlifts up to three horse riders each week.