Former crews visit ambulance station to mark its 50th anniversary

The opening of the St Neots Ambulance Station in 1969

The opening of the St Neots Ambulance Station in 1969 - Credit: Archant

Ambulance crews from across the decades were invited to a reunion to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the station in St Neots.

St Neots Ambulance Station reunion in June

St Neots Ambulance Station reunion in June - Credit: Archant

The current St Neots' crews invited retired staff back to the station, in Huntingdon Street, at the end of June.

The Hunts Post published an article in January 1969 to report the official opening, which came after a public campaign as the original station had closed in 1960.

The report says the building cost £16,000 and was officially opened by the chairman of the old St Neots Urban Council, Norman Moore.

It was built to serve the town, which at that time had a population of 11,900 and a rural district population of 9,100. The station was manned from 8am till 6pm, from Monday till Saturday and 8am till 5pm on Sunday and at all other times staff were called from home.

A number of former colleagues were able to attend the event and between them they had clocked up a combined service time of more than 320 years.

Of those who attended the reunion, were Barry Hall, Ron Elt and Graham West.

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Mr Hall, who served for 42 years, said: "It's been a privilege to serve in the ambulance service - best job I've ever had."

Mr Elt, who served for 28 years, said: "It brought back many memories and thoughts of other colleagues sadly no longer with us. The modern crews have far greater skill now than was available to us.

"Long may this station and its personnel continue to provide a much-needed service to the growing area."

Graham West, who put in 18 years' service, said: "Things have changed so much. I employed the first female member of frontline ambulance staff in Cambridgeshire in the late seventies. There were some great times. It was good to see the station in safe hands, with the old ethos showing through."

After a tour of the current facilities, Barry and Ron commented on the fact that the lockers installed for them 50 years ago were still in use. The were also "horrified" to notice that the ambulance bay floor wasn't shining as this was polished daily in the 1970s.

The station in the 1970s was only manned during the day and crews would work a daytime shift and then be on-call during the night.