Celebration marks momentous year for BEEP Doctors

More than 100 people helped to mark a momentous year for Beep Doctors (BASICS Cumbria), a team of dedicated volunteer doctors which carries out life-saving work in Cumbria.

A special event hosted by Beep Doctors and the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) at the North Lakes Hotel & Spa in Penrith also celebrated the last 20 years of service to the Great North Air Ambulance by the BEEP Doctors Chairman Dr Theo Weston MBE, as he prepares to stand down from GNAAS at the end of December.

Dr Weston started the evening by highlighting the BEEP Doctors’ achievements in 2023 to a group of committee members and sponsors and thanked everyone who had supported the charity. “It has been an amazing year, the highlight of which was being awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service,” said Dr Weston.

He said the team had, among other things, attended several local shows this year to raise awareness of its work and members also completed a 260-mile sponsored ride around Cumbria to raise funds.

BEEP Doctors have three emergency response vehicles based in the west and the south of Cumbria and Dr Weston said there were plans in 2024 – which will be the 30th anniversary of the team – for a fourth, to serve the north of the county.

Dr Weston thanked the group’s sponsors, including the Sellafield Ltd SIX – social impact, multiplied programme – which had given funding this year for equipment for the emergency response cars.

Dr Weston said the team’s doctors had attended nearly 300 incidents so far in 2023.

However, the evening was a double celebration as the BEEP Doctors and the Great North Air Ambulance Service teamed up to organise a surprise ‘This is your Life’-style show to mark Dr Weston’s imminent retirement from GNAAS after spending 20 years as an air ambulance doctor with them.

The presentation, which included music and video, focused on how Dr Weston, who lives near Penrith, had dedicated his career and a huge amount of his spare time to helping people and saving lives, including spending many years as a member of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team.

Lee Salmon, Head of Operations for GNAAS in Cumbria, paid tribute to Dr Weston. “He is a remarkable individual whose life’s work has left an indelible impression on the world.”

He told Dr Weston: “There are many families – husbands, wives, parents and children – all have had more time due to your dedication.”

Dr John Ferris, a fellow BEEP and GNAAS doctor, described Dr Weston as ‘a local legend’ and ‘a true gentleman, one of life’s good guys’.

Television presenter Helen Skelton also sent her congratulations via a pre-recorded video link.

And there was a special tribute from Kacper Krauze, 18, of Appleby, who was pulled from the River Eden after nearly drowning in 2019. Dr Weston, responding for BEEP Doctors, was one of those who was called to the scene along with the Great North Air Ambulance Service, which continued his treatments as he was flown to the RVI hospital in Newcastle.

Kacper told the gathering: “Thank you Dr Weston for saving my life and not giving up on my life. I would not be here without you.”

Dr Weston thanked the organisers for putting together ‘an utterly amazing send-off’. He thanked GNAAS for allowing him to work for the charity for the last 20 years and for all the learning and experiences this had given him.

He stated that throughout this time, he had witnessed GNAAS evolving into a first class, internationally renowned critical care emergency medical service providing treatments and interventions that were second to none and he felt privileged and proud to have been able to be part of the GNAAS team for so many years.

The evening was also a vivid reminder about how all the emergency service groups such as GNAAS, BEEP Doctors, North West Ambulance Service, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, Cumbria Police and Mountain Rescue Teams all work closely together to further their main aim of saving lives and improving the condition of those seriously ill or injured in the pre-hospital environment.

Dr Weston will continue to chair and respond for the BEEP Doctors.


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