Paramedics mark 55 years of service

PUBLISHED: 14:09 21 December 2006 | UPDATED: 21:28 29 May 2010

Colleagues celebrate the retirement of Mick and Laury Barrow - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Colleagues celebrate the retirement of Mick and Laury Barrow - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

THEY worked together, they live together and now, with 55 years of service between them, Mick and Laury Barrow are retiring together. Not many people would choose to work with their partner, but after 18 years of marriage and 20 years as a crew for the E

THEY worked together, they live together and now, with 55 years of service between them, Mick and Laury Barrow are retiring together.

Not many people would choose to work with their partner, but after 18 years of marriage and 20 years as a crew for the Essex Ambulance Service, the couple from Hatfield Broad Oak can think of nothing better.

"People have asked me 'how on Earth can you work with your husband?'", says Laury, 54, who worked for 25 years as a paramedic.

"If you work with somebody for a long, long time your working relationship is so smooth.

"You know what the other person wants you to do without asking."

Mick, who retired on his 60th birthday in October after 30 years, agrees: "We could counsel each other. We both knew what had happened during the day and by the time we got home we had left work behind."

The couple, who received the Queen's medal for long service and good conduct, met at Harlow ambulance station in the 1970s.

After a move to Epping in 1986 they started working together as a crew and have been based at Stansted for the last seven years.

A lot has changed in their 55 years of service: "Drinking is a big problem now," says Laury. "People who get too drunk take us away from those who really need us.

"You end up being called 'blue light taxis', because their mates call you up when no taxi driver will take them."

Though they have chosen to retire, the pair, who plan to travel to Australia next year will miss the fascinating people they met on duty.

Past encounters have included Terry Waite, who was handing out blankets to road accident victims on the M11, and Tommy Walsh, from TV gardening show Groundforce.

"They were doing a show near Dunmow and had put the Groundforce lorry into a tree," remembers Laury, "I must admit when we got there. I couldn't help shouting out, 'Blimey, it's Tommy!'"

But they are looking forward to spending their first Christmas at home together for years.

They also want to take adult education classes to improve their computer skills and Laury hopes to start an art class.

Colleagues and A&E staff helped celebrate their retirement at a party at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Social Club in Harlow last Friday.

At the celebrations, the duo were given a Crystal vase and clock and more than £100 worth of vouchers.

"We've organised so many dos for other people," says Mick, "It was definitely our turn.

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