Mike retires from the Ambulance Service after almost half a century

AFTER more than 44-years with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) a Plymouth man is stepping down from saving lives to enjoy his retirement.

On February 22 1974 Mike Berridge joined what was then known as the Plymouth Corporation Ambulance Service. He had a two week induction before heading out on the road to help the people of Plymouth and the wider south west.

Mike said: “I was 23-years old and had just been made redundant. One day I was walking down Greenbank Hill towards Mutley Plain and I stopped outside Greenbank Ambulance Station. I looked in the parking bays and there was all the ambulance vehicles and I thought to myself that I would like to have a job on the ambulances.”

Mike progressed through the ranks from a Miller Trained ambulance man, technician, advanced technician, Paramedic and ending his career as an Ambulance Practitioner.

Throughout his years of service Mike has dealt with all kinds of incidents and he says ambulance staff in the UK are some the best trained and most professional in the world.

He said: “I think I have dealt with every situation going. Murders, road accidents and also many happy times such as delivering babies. I think the UK has the best trained ambulance staff in the world. The people in the service are very professional. We have to recognise many different situations and adjust to each case that we are dealing with.”

Away from his heroics on the road Mike was also on hand to help countless members of staff as he stood as a Union representative for more than 30-years.

“I think I can say that the 44-years I have spent in the service have been the best years of my life. I used to look forward to going to work and I have worked with many special people. I have worked in many aspects of the service and I can say to anyone thinking of joining the ambulance service to go for it.”