Response team launches appeal for Battle help

A DEDICATED duo of health-workers launched an emergency response service this week with an appeal for Battle volunteers.

Married couple Brian and Fay Rockell, of Ochiltree Road, Hastings, have set up a new branch of the popular national service, Community First Responders (CFRs) in Hastings and are about to pilot a second branch in Battle.

The scheme trains community volunteers to be first on hand to local medical emergencies, often beating the ambulance and providing life-saving basic healthcare. Battle has long been one of very few towns in the country without this service.

Brian said: “It’s exciting for Battle. This will engage volunteers in their own community, and will save lives in those communities. There’s no higher cause than that.

“As soon as we get volunteers and get them trained, Battle will see the benefit.”

Brian, 65, launched a CFR pilot scheme in Hastings last autumn. At the time, he and his wife Fay, 45, were the only two volunteers. The pair have already been first on the scene to dozens of emergencies.

Now, more volunteers are needed to make sure Battle is covered by cool-headed responders. Around seven cool-headed community heros are needed to launch Battle’s pilot scheme.

“We think we can make a very big difference to the community,” said Brian. “This scheme has been proven to save lives, and our aim is to cover the whole of the 1066 area 24/7.”

Volunteers will get five days training (spread over three weekends). After that, a minimum commitment of four hours a week is needed, though Brian, a former UK director for St John’s Ambulance and currently a Sussex Public Governor for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) stressed this is time that can be used for other things too - CFRs are essentially on call, but are not required to go to an office or otherwise disrupt their lives.

Volunteers “clock in” via the internet, and if an emergency happens, they get a text message or phone call, sent at the same time as the call to the nearest ambulance crew. CFRs can then speed off in their own cars, armed with equipment provided by Brian’s organisation.

For information email:, or call 07510 102390.