Essex stalwart retires after four decades in public services

Keith Coleman OPT

After dedicating 40 years to public services, ambulance-man Keith Coleman is hanging up his uniform and looking forward to a new life in the Spanish sunshine.

Along with wife Dee, the 60-year-old Basildon grandfather-of-four will next month be jetting off to south of Alicante, where he will retire following 15 years with the ambulance service in Essex.

“I’ve had a wonderful time,” said Keith. “My only regret is leaving friends and colleagues behind but I’m bowing out to a nice retirement. I just hope I’ve made a difference along the way."

Keith’s ambulance service career began in 2000 in patient transport services at Oldchurch Hospital. For two years from 2001 he worked on an urgent support vehicle in Chelmsford and provided relief cover in Ongar, Basildon and Harlow.

He served as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in Southend until 2008 – where he spent two years on the Essex Air Ambulance – before being transferred to Basildon.

Keith, an aircraft enthusiast with a passion for flight simulation, said: “I enjoyed my time on the air ambulance. There was lots of variety. It was very exciting and enjoyable and I made a lot of good mates there.

“All my life I’ve been in the public sector. I feel proud. I was awarded all three Jubilee medals given to serving members of emergency services, which is quite an achievement.

“I have had a wonderful career in the ambulance service so it was a very sad moment when I finished. I’ll miss the comradeship and sticking together. We’ve come through some hard times and things are definitely on the up now. Hopefully they will continue to get even better.”

During a farewell gathering this month, Keith was presented with a crest Chief Executive Anthony Marsh.

“The Chief congratulated me and it was lovely,” said Keith. “We had tea and cakes and a chat. He even asked me about the way forward and he listened to my views. I’ve always held him in high esteem due to what he’s achieved, starting in patient transport services and working his way up. I’ve always thought that’s what new staff should aspire to.”

South west Essex Senior Locality Manager Alan Whitehead, who also attended the farewell event, added: “Keith’s one of the most enthusiastic people I know. People go and talk to him and he’s known affectionately as ‘Granddad’ on station. He’s always done a really good job, he always has a good word to say about others, he has a positive manner and he has embraced change. He’ll be very sadly missed.”

Published 4th May, 2015. Pictured below: Keith with Chief Executive Anthony Marsh.

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