VIDEO: ‘Essential’ sponge toys donated to ambulance station

Sponge toys which help paramedics gain the trust of child patients have been donated to the town’s ambulance station.

The Littlehampton District Lions Club had almost 250 of the sponge toys made for Littlehampton Ambulance Station in East Street, which were funded by money the group raises throughout the year.

The Littlehampton Lions have donated sponge ambulance toys to the local ambulance station in East Street. Pictured (centre) are John Taylor, 79, and Norman Blackmore, 85 from the Lions group and paramedics, including Brett Walford, 47 (far left) and Paul Harris (third from right).

The Littlehampton Lions have donated sponge ambulance toys to the local ambulance station in East Street. Pictured (centre) are John Taylor, 79, and Norman Blackmore, 85 from the Lions group and paramedics, including Brett Walford, 47 (far left) and Paul Harris (third from right).

Paramedic Brett Walford described the sponges as ‘an essential part of our armoury’ and thanked the Littlehampton Lions for their donation.

He said: “When a child is unwell, they become more and more withdrawn and more difficult to deal with, and a couple of strangers turning up in a uniform can be very daunting.

“If you can gain their confidence by showing you are a friend, it gets past the barriers and makes our job a lot easier. These are great for that.”

The donation was the brainchild of Norman Blackmore, from Lyminster Road, Littlehampton, who has been a member of the Lions club for a decade.

If you can gain their confidence by showing you are a friend, it gets past the barriers and makes our job a lot easier

Brett Walford

The 85-year-old retired plumber got in touch with Brett at Littlehampton Ambulance Station in September – and he hopes that the Lions can continue to donate the sponges.

He said: “If they are useful, I’m all for it.”

Brett has been a paramedic for 15 years, and worked for the London Ambulance Service before joining the Littlehampton team a year ago. He said every paramedic has a sponge in their work bag, and they get used for jobs with children approximately once every six weeks.

The 47-year-old, who drives an ambulance car, said a sponge came in useful on a recent call-out involving an ill father.

He said: “We needed to do observations like blood pressure and pulse, and his little girl didn’t want anyone going near her daddy, so I was able to give her one of these ambulances and that distracted her long enough to deal with the father.”

Paul Harris, the clinical team leader for Littlehampton Ambulance Station, said: “We are very grateful for the support the Lions gave us with the donations.”

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