Tribute paid to long-serving ambulance man Bill Tillett

Bill Tillett, from Felixstowe, with an ambulance in Essex

Bill Tillett, from Felixstowe, with an ambulance in Essex - Credit: Archant

Tribute paid to a Long Melford man from Felixstowe who devoted his life to the ambulance service in Essex.

Bill and Barbara Tillett

Bill and Barbara Tillett - Credit: Archant

Bill Tillett died last month aged 87 after collapsing at home in Long Melford.

Born in Felixstowe in 1927, to the son of a cowman, Bill was conscripted into the Essex Regiment in 1945 and later served in the colonial police in Israel and Palestine.

After his Army service he joined the ambulance service in Essex in 1964, beginning in Colchester before working at stations across Essex including Weeley, Clacton, Harwich, Witham and Braintree.

He gained his long service medal, serving for more than 25 years, and ended his career as a station officer after progressing through the ranks.

Outside of work he ran training sessions and gave talks to community groups, and was also an aircraft enthusiast – with a dislike of flying.

His wife Barbara, a former ambulance liaison officer who married Bill in 1991, said the ambulance service was “embedded” in the “gentle giant’s” life.

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Mrs tillett, 75, said: “He loved being in the service – it was his life. His job meant everything to him.

“At work he was very regimental. He didn’t like any injustices and when there were any grievances they would send Bill down.”

Shani Nicholls, duty locality officer for Colchester who worked with Bill, said: “Bill was a respected station officer who was well regarded by all that worked alongside him.

“He ensured that everyone worked to the highest standards and was an ambulance officer who worked hard to provide an excellent service to the public.”

Dr Anthony Marsh, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, added: “Bill was a role model for me when I was a paramedic more than 25 years ago. I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to his family.”

• Family, friends and former colleagues are invited to his funeral service at 11.45am tomorrow (February 18) at Colchester Crematorium and to share memories of Bill afterwards at the Wooden Fender, Ardleigh. The family have requested no flowers, but donations in his memory can be made to the Essex Air Ambulance.