TRIBUTES have been flooding in for long serving Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedic Shaun Russell, who died last week after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010.

The 50-year-old, from Rowde, had been receiving treatment but his health deteriorated recently and the former paramedic died on Friday.

Mr Russell, who worked as a paramedic for more than 20 years, spent 12 years with the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and former patients have been contacting the charity with stories of how he helped to save their lives.

Head of operations at Wiltshire Air Ambulance Kevin Reed said: “Patients have been getting in touch with stories about how he saved them or a loved one's life.

“He was always very proud of being a WAA paramedic; he got great satisfaction from it and was a fantastic ambassador for the charity.

“He was will be missed enormously as he was very popular within the WAA and with the wider ambulance and police community."

Richard Miller, WAA critical care paramedic, met Mr Russell more than 25 years ago through the ambulance service.

He said: “He was a good friend and very generous. He never liked the limelight and always shied from praise.

“The many service people that will be attending his funeral will be wearing uniforms as a mark of respect.”

Mr Russell and his identical twin brother Stuart were born in Northamptonshire on April 14, 1965.

After leaving school he worked for a bus company and then had a short spell in the Territorial Army before joining the ambulance service in 1987.

He worked as a technician, qualifying as a paramedic in 1992 in Oxfordshire, before transferring to Wiltshire.

Mr Russell joined WAA in 1999 and completed his Air Observers Course in 2002 before retiring in 2011, from what he described as his dream job, due to his cancer.

He married wife Kim in September 2003 and had two children Kerry-Ann, 21, and James, 24, from a previous marriage along with two grandchildren Josh and Olivia.

Mrs Russell said: “He was a humble man who very proud of where he came from and never saw himself as others did, saying ‘I'm just me’.

“He was a devoted husband who had a great sense of humour and always put my happiness above his own. His family, friends and colleagues were his top priority when not working, but his gentle and compassionate nature extended to all those around him.

“It is no exaggeration when I say his passing has left an empty space within me that will never be filled.”

Mr Russell’s funeral is on July 10 at the West Wiltshire Crematorium, Semington, at 12.15pm. Flowers welcome and donations if desired to Wiltshire Air Ambulance.