AN ambulance worker has been commended for bravery at a special awards ceremony held yesterday.

Madeleine Basford-Herd, who is based at Whipps Cross University Hospital, was given an Ambulance Service Institute award after she was held at gunpoint in September last year.

A 36-year-old man had dialled 999 and asked for an ambulance only to pull a gun on Ms Basford-Herd and her colleague.

He threatened to shoot her if she did not take him where he wanted to go but she was able to distract his attention by throwing a folder towards the back of the ambulance.

She and her colleague were able to escape the ambulance but the gunman then tried to take control and crashed into several parked cars.

Waltham Forest ambulance operations manager Martin McTigue, who presented her with the award, said: “It seemed like a routine call – nothing out of the ordinary.

“Ms Basford-Herd attempted to start taking blood pressure when the patient pulled a gun.

“She remained calm and kept talking to him and reassuring him. The award was to acknowledge her rational thinking in some quite extraordinary circumstances.”

The incident, which happened in Dagenham, saw the gunman jailed for three-and-a-half years after hijacking the ambulance and causing more than £250,000 of damage.

On August 23 this year, another Whipps Cross paramedic was attending an emergency call in Leyton when she was shot with an air gun.

Suzanne O'Rourke, 40, avoided serious injury but the incident sparked outrage within the ambulance service over the lack of respect shown to its staff.

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