‘Brothers in arms!’ Proud twins serve as volunteer NHS medics during coronavirus crisis

Colchester twins Dean, left, and Ryan Appleton are calling for more people to consider volunteering

Colchester twins Dean, left, and Ryan Appleton are calling for more people to consider volunteering as Community First Responders for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. Picture: Olivia Knight Photography - Credit: Archant

Inspirational twins who serve as volunteer medics for the NHS in Colchester have spoken of their pride as they step up their duties in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Colchester twins Dean, left, and Ryan Appleton are calling for more people to consider volunteering

Colchester twins Dean, left, and Ryan Appleton are calling for more people to consider volunteering as Community First Responders for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. Picture: Olivia Knight Photography - Credit: Archant

Dean and Ryan Appleton have attended hundreds of 999 calls over the last decade as community first responders (CFRs) for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

MORE: Join our Facebook group for updates on coronavirusWith the pandemic putting health service staff under even greater pressure, the pair have agreed to be on 24/7 emergency standby to attend 999 calls and give what could be life-saving support to patients, before paramedics arrive.

The twins have been given PPE kits during the crisis, along with extra training - and say they are “immensely proud to be serving the frontline”, especially as what they call “brothers in arms”.

MORE: Sign up for all the latest coronavirus news in Suffolk hereDean, who is a building surveyor at construction consultancy Ingleton Wood in Colchester and set up the first CFR group in his hometown of Clacton eight years ago, said: “Ryan and I are also close neighbours so we often pick each other up for calls.

“We’re not risking ourselves but we could be walking into anything so it’s special to have my ‘brother in arms’ with me.

“We’re immensely proud of serving the frontline. We just want to save lives.”

MORE: All of the coronavirus news in SuffolkThe 31-year-old, of south Colchester, has encouraged others to volunteer - saying: “I think it’s very rewarding. You’ll make a huge difference in such hard times.”


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His own work has included performing CPR on a critically ill cyclist and helping whilst he was transferred via air ambulance, to making a cup of tea to treat an elderly resident with chest pain and anxiety.

“We tucked her into bed as she was frail, turned off the lights and locked up behind us,” he said.

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“She was incredibly grateful. She’s self-isolating and just needed someone to talk to. Maybe we saved her life in a different way.

“The cyclist also recovered after our early intervention. Even though these weren’t directly linked to Covid-19, we feel a sense of achievement.”

Dean has also praised his employers for their “amazing support” in allowing him to volunteer.

David Cresswell, partner at Ingleton Wood, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Dean and his twin brother Ryan for their NHS volunteering to help critical patients in the Colchester community, including those potentially suffering from Covid-19.

“When Dean asked if he could volunteer 24/7 including whilst working from home, there was absolutely no question – this is his calling and we must all do what we can to help out.”

EEAST CFR Colchester coordinator Madelen Tobiasson said: “It is great to have the twins in our team. They have a lot of experience and work very well as a pair.

“Since the Covid-19 outbreak they have been on call nearly every day along with several others in our team to offer as much support as possible to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust and to our community.”

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