Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

West Norfolk paramedic and firefighter Carl Smith, Sandringham WI’s Yvonne Browne and King’s Lynn’s David Ball recognised in New Year Honours List





A paramedic and firefighter who instigated a life-saving initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic is among those from West Norfolk recognised in the New Year Honours List.

Carl Smith, 50, who is a critical care paramedic with the East of England Ambulance Service, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for setting in motion a scheme that saw firefighters driving ambulances at the start of the pandemic.

Yvonne Browne, vice-president and chairperson of Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI), was also recognised – as she received the BEM for services to the WI and the local community.

Paramedic Carl Smith, pictured here in 2011, has been awarded a BEM
Paramedic Carl Smith, pictured here in 2011, has been awarded a BEM

And David Ball, from Lynn, has become an MBE for his services to the community in East Anglia.

Mr Smith said his award was a “complete surprise”.

“I opened the letter and was unsure what to make of it,” he said.

Paramedic Carl Smith pictured in 2012
Paramedic Carl Smith pictured in 2012

“I didn’t believe it until I had a telephone call backing it up from the Cabinet Office that confirmed it.”

Mr Smith has worked for the East of England Ambulance Service for 29 years, working as both a critical care paramedic for the service and the East of England Air Ambulance.

He has also been an on-call firefighter for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service for 27 years – and he volunteers as a paramedic for the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service.

His two sons were “absolutely over the moon” at the news of his award, Mr Smith added.

Paramedic Carl Smith and funeral director Andrew Thornalley pictured with firefighters during a Christmas drink-drive campaign at North Lynn Fire Station
Paramedic Carl Smith and funeral director Andrew Thornalley pictured with firefighters during a Christmas drink-drive campaign at North Lynn Fire Station

“I’ve had lots of messages on social media and personally congratulating me and I do appreciate it all,” he said.

In announcing the awards, the Cabinet Office described Mr Smith’s idea and work on the Covid-19 initiative as “instrumental” in handling the effects of the pandemic during the critical first few months.

With many ambulance service staff ill or self-isolating, Mr Smith suggested firefighters were trained to support paramedics and he then led the project’s delivery.

Around 50 firefighters signed up within a week and a total of 86 were trained.

“There were a lot of people who did such good work during Covid,” he said.

“It is nice to be recognised, I really value it, but probably everybody in the emergency services deserves praise.

“I feel humbled to get this award but there’s a lot of people who should also get one.”

Speaking about the project, he said: “We needed people who could drive with blue lights and work under pressure, and the fire service ticked those boxes.

“Within a week we had 50, most were on-call firefighters who were furloughed at home through their work and they wanted to help.

“They always had a paramedic with them as part of the crew.

“We were able to maintain cover and get out to see patients.”

Paramedic Carl Smith received a Your Local Paper Hero Award back in 2020
Paramedic Carl Smith received a Your Local Paper Hero Award back in 2020

Immediately before the first lockdown started in March 2020, Mr Smith was presented with the Uniformed Services Award at the Local Hero Awards organised by our sister paper Your Local Paper at Lynn’s Alive Corn Exchange.

He had also received a prestigious long-service award from the fire service in a ceremony held at Lynn North station six months earlier.

Another West Norfolk resident who was recognised in the New Year Honours List was Yvonne Browne, who is vice-president and chairperson of Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI).

Mrs Browne spent a lot of time with the late Queen Elizabeth, who was president of the WI branch from 1943 until her death in 2022.

She is also a former administrative assistant at the Park House Hotel on the Sandringham Estate.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More