VOLUNTEERS are needed to help set up a life-saving First Responders group in Huntingdon and Godmanchester.

Neil Mackie, of Alan Farm Close, Godmanchester, has launched a search for like-minded volunteers after finding out the two towns are not covered by First Responders - trained people who provide emergency first aid until paramedics arrive.

The 61-year-old, pictured, told The Hunts Post he was searching for a way to give back to the community when he attended a talk by Magpas - which used to run the service. Keen to sign up, the retired corporate bank manager was told about the lack of a group in the area and said it was evident to him he needed to start one.

Just five volunteers are needed to get the group up and running, providing a response to emergency calls where ambulance crews can't get to patients having heart attacks or breathing problems within eight minutes.

Mr Mackie said: "The more I looked into First Responders groups, the more I got interested. I found out there wasn't one for Godmanchester and Huntingdon and it just seems to be the ideal time to set one up."

He added: "Maybe because we're so close to the ambulance station and Hinchingbrooke Hospital that people don't believe there is a need for it, but there is.

"A First Responder provides advanced first aid care and in the first 10 minutes that is crucial to the patients. We just hold the fort until the paramedics get there.

"When you think there were 200 calls in the first half of the year that a first responder would have been called - more than one call a day - there is an obvious need for a service."

Mr Mackie needs four more people, who can give up at least two hours a week, to complete a team before the East of England Ambulance Service will train the volunteers.

INFORMATION: Anyone interested in becoming a First Responder should call Mr Mackie on 07990541441.