VOLUNTEER lifesavers in Calne have been given a new community First Responders vehicle by a family-run garage.

Cyril H Thomas in Curzon Street donated the car, which will be used by the Calne First Responders responding to 999 emergencies, nine years after also giving the group their first car, which has helped to save hundreds of lives.

The new car means that the volunteers can reach patients suffering from life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes, to provide vital care until an ambulance arrives.

Dave Wilmot, community responder officer for Wiltshire, said: “They have very kindly supplied Calne First Responders with this car and it is a fantastic benefit for the community, they will save lives because the last one did.”

Robbie and Jacquie Howes, of Angel Close, said they owe their lives to the First Responders after they saved Mr Howes’ life after he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in November while waiting for an ambulance.

“He came downstairs from the shower saying he didn’t feel very well and he isn’t normally a complainer,” Mrs Howes explained.

“Within ten minutes he was gone. By the time the first responders came my husband was dead.

“I remember kneeling on the floor giving CPR to my husband until my guardian angels turned up.

“The sense of relief when they walked in was unreal. I feel like they saved both of our lives.”

“Nobody in Calne knows whether they are going to need it next, it could be anyone.”

Mr Howes added: “The silly thing is, these vehicles should be mandatory. The NHS is so overstretched and these guys are needed.”

Managing director of Cyril H Thomas, Keith Thomas, said: “I have seen over the years how many people the car has helped.

“It makes me happy to see it go around the town, I think I can do something positive in the town.

“This is a family-run business, which has been going since 1921. It is nice to give back to the town.”

Calne Rotary Club is kindly paying for the insurance of the car, Castrol, based in Swindon, is paying for the servicing of the car for three years, and WEC Ltd is paying for the tax.

Speaking about the new community responder vehicle, Garry Jones, community First Responder for Calne, said: “It is fantastic, it gets me emotional when I think of people giving.”

Calne First Responders are looking for more volunteers to attend emergencies. Anyone interested is invited to get in touch with Mr Jones by calling his mobile on 07906 939512 or emailing qcd_1999@yahoo.co.uk.