A paramedic who went to the aid of a biker while he was off duty has been hailed for being his “guardian angel.”
By chance Paul Smith, a paramedic and emergency care clinical manager at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), of Peterlee, was on his way to Moffat Classic Car Rally with his wife and a group of friends when he came across the crash.
Keith Stapleton had been on a day trip to Moffat with a friend on Sunday, June 28, when he came off his bike and landed in a field off the A708.
Paul, who had been travelling just minutes behind Keith, rushed to his aid and waited with him until the ambulance arrived.
Keith, 53, from Shildon, suffered a broken collar bone and fractured vertebrae but is now recovering at home.
Thanks to some help from his brother-in-law Peter Reed, who works for the trust’s patient transport service, Keith was able to track down Paul and thank him in person when they were reunited at NEAS headquarters in Newburn.
What he did was fantastic and he stopped with me the whole time.Keith Stapleton
“Paul was on his day off and he didn’t have to stop but I’m so thankful he did,” said Keith.
“His professional and friendly manner kept me calm and comfortable and he kept my spirits up by joking on with me. Most of all, he was my friend when I needed help the most.
“What he did was fantastic and he stopped with me the whole time. He was like my guardian angel.”
“I would always stop,” said Paul.
“I think 99% of people would.
“As a paramedic you’re never off duty, it’s in our nature to help people. “It’s more than a job, it’s a vocation.”
Paul Liversidge, chief operating officer, said: “Paul is a great example of the type of people we have working for NEAS, who don’t stop caring just because they’re not at work, so it’s fantastic to be able to recognise them publicly in when they go above and beyond in this way.”