Saving LIVES on our roads for 45 years

Dr Cooper of Lives, a historic picture.
Dr Cooper of Lives, a historic picture.

A charity which has supported the emergency services and saved lives celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2015.

A charity which has supported the emergency services and saved lives celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2015.

The life-saving organisation LIVES (Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service) will be hosting a series of fundraising and awareness campaigns throughout the year as part of celebrations.

The charity was founded in the early 1970s by Nettleham-based Dr Michael Cooper and Tetford-based Dr Richard Harper-Smith after a horrific accident on the A1 at Catterick which saw the casualty die through lack of immediate medical assistance.

Another doctor Dr Ken Easton, a local GP, developed the services of a voluntary group of doctors who would be available to attend road traffic accidents to provide assistance to the emergency services – the first meeting was attended by more than 100 doctors.

Today, LIVES has become an essential part of Lincolnshire emergency care. The charity works to provide vital help in the first few minutes before an ambulance crew arrives and gives a county-wide service.

It relies on volunteer responders and medics to be ‘on call’ to offer assistance.

The charity’s fundraising manager Stephen Hyde said: “We are so excited to be celebrating our 45th anniversary and all we have achieved in those 45 years. During the year we will be trying to raise the awareness of LIVES and the important work we do – the charity is a result of 45 years of hard work and brings communities in Lincolnshire together to make a difference.

“Dr Michael Cooper and Dr Richard Harper-Smith were both amazing men, who worked tirelessly to start LIVES and provide Lincolnshire with an invaluable medical service. Today, LIVES is still based on the same hard-working principles – our medics and first responders are at the heart of what we do.”

During 2014, LIVES medics and first responders used lifesaving defibrillators at least 191 times - securing a return of circulation on 90 occasions providing a return rate of 48 per cent, which the charity says is ‘an incredible accomplishment’.

Stephen said: “Over the course of our 45th anniversary we will be working to encourage communities to invest in their own defibrillators we are hoping to encourage at least 45 schools, 45 businesses and 45 rural villages to purchase defibrillators.”

More details about the events taking place across Lincolnshire in 2015 will be released at a future date and throughout the year.

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○ In the early days LIVES had no funds and doctors had to buy their own equipment. Donations by several companies later bought a radio-communication system and transmitters were set up at Nettleham and Fulletby.

○ By 1980 further transmitters were installed at Boston, Sleaford and Barton and LIVES employed three part-time operators.

○ Each transmitter was connected to the control room at Lincoln County Hospital by landline and cost £10,000 a year in rental.

○ In the 1990’s Lincoln County Hospital declared that as a result of a modernisation it was not possible for LIVES to continue letting a room in A&E. The radio system became obsolete and expensive to run .

○ An invitation from the Lincolnshire Ambulance Service to base LIVES Control within the ambulance control centre was accepted and greatly improved the efficiency of LIVES callouts.

○ It still operates to this day as part of the computerised automatic dispatch (CAD) system.

○ In 1999 the chief executive of the Ambulance Trust invited LIVES to establish a First Responder Service for suspected heart attack victims. It was agreed to call this part of LIVES The First Responder Scheme.

○ A Co-ordinator was appointed to set up the First Responder Scheme. Volunteers were invited to become responders and the response following initial recruitment was overwhelming. There are currently 158 groups throughout Lincolnshire.

○ In 2002 LIVES moved into a new head office at The War Memorial Centre in Horncastle and the organisation was based there until, due to further expansion and the need for more space, LIVES moved to a new purpose-built building in June 2012 at Unit 5-8 Birch Court, Boston Road Industrial Estate, Horncastle, LN9 6SB.