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Brave Red Cross team awarded after Shoreham air crash

6 January 2016

A British Red Cross first aid team who helped people in the aftermath of the Shoreham Air Show has been given a prestigious award.

Sixty-six volunteers and staff pitched in over several days, including 42 who helped at the air show on 22 August. The team had been contracted to provide first aid and ambulance support for the event.

Using what has been described as “quick thinking and lifesaving first aid skills,” the team leapt into action. They helped people who were injured in the crash or hit by debris. They also offered emotional support to many distressed people in the 20,000-strong crowd.

Now the team have been given the Dunant Award. Named after Red Cross founder Henry Dunant, the award is reserved for teams who ‘go above and beyond the call of duty’.

‘Superb professionalism’

Malcolm Allsopp, Red Cross operations director for Kent and Sussex, said: “We are very proud of the team, made up largely of volunteers, who responded at Shoreham.

“What was asked of them that day was well beyond what most of them had ever experienced, let alone on a first aid duty, but they acted with superb professionalism.

“They brought their training to bear when faced with some difficult injuries and very disturbing scenes.

“Because of the damage to the road, it was some time before ambulances could reach the site. So our team took the lead in establishing a triage post and tending to casualties.

“Their heroics are well deserving of the Dunant Award.”

Brave Tony helps save pilot’s life

Tony Kemp, clinical lead in the team, treated the critically injured pilot in his ejector seat. At great personal risk, Tony worked alongside two doctors to save the pilot’s life and fought on when the plane caught fire.

Tony was awarded with the Special Service Cross, which recognises special acts of distinction or bravery.

Tony said of the Red Cross team: “In those first few minutes of the crash, the stillness and silence that occurred while people got organised was the height of professionalism.”

In the days that followed the tragedy, Red Cross teams helped the emergency and recovery crews during the painstaking and grim work of clearing the site.

The Red Cross also set up a telephone support line for anyone affected by the disaster, which took 30 calls over two weeks. Volunteers supported callers who ranged from witnesses to survivors.

The photograph shows Richard Tyler (centre) receiving his award from Simon Lewis (right) and vice-chair Paul Taylor.