Two friends called John – who joined the ambulance service together in 1979 and are still crewmates today – are both celebrating 40 years in the NHS. Calverton’s Jonathan Shaw and John Elliott of Hucknall actually worked together as undertakers for three years before joining Nottinghamshire Ambulance Service as ambulancemen.
Throughout their combined 80 years at EMAS, the two Johns have had babies named after them, attended the Kegworth air disaster and saved dozens of lives. They now work on the CenTre Neonatal Transport ambulance where they care for critically ill babies.
Jonathan said that when they first started on the ambulances, they didn’t even have a defibrillator on board, or a siren to alert other traffic, and there was no heating so they used hot water bottles to keep their patients warm. Their uniforms were also black so they were often mistaken for the police.
He said: “All we had was a bag and mask for simple resuscitation, a single blue-domed light on the top of the ambulance and a bell to ring so people knew we were coming.”
Although the two Johns now work part-time, neither of them are ready to hang up their ambulance keys anytime soon. Jonathan said: “I’m proud to put on my uniform every morning, proud to represent EMAS and proud to serve our patients. It’s a fantastic job and we’ve always felt like we’re part of a big family.”