A PARAMEDIC who has worked across Ayrshire has reflected on his 43 years in the service.

Shaun Murphy has shared the highs and lows of his career, from flying in the Ambulance Service’s yellow helicopter to sadly being unable to save four children from a fire.

Shaun was 23 and just returned from his honeymoon when he found out he was starting training.

He said: “The training was quite basic. You only went for six weeks then you were released on the public.”

Shaun remembered how basic the equipment and supplies were when he started in 1977.

He said: “The only things we had were bandages, blankets, oxygen and Entonox – which has just been introduced for pain relief. That was about your lot.”

Initially stationed at Irvine, he eagerly asked for a transfer back to his hometown of Kilbirnie after his probation.

As a paramedic, Shaun has seen horrifying accidents but said: “You just get there and get on with the job’.

He told the Times: “In Kilbirnie, about 20 or 25 years ago there was a big fire.That was really horrendous. It was only me and my partner, initially. When we arrived, the firefighters had started to bring people out. They kept bringing child after child.

“I ended up with four children in the back of the ambulance. I was thinking, I’ve not got four pairs of hands. I did try. The poor wee things were all gone.”

Five children and their mother were killed.

Shaun said lots of paramedics can go through their whole careers without seeing a dead child, but he was unfortunate,. He dealt with quite a lot over his 43 years in the service.

He said: “You see a side of life that the general public will never see. But that’s the job you take on, you go into it to help folk. You do have empathy for them, but it’s not your grief, it’s their grief.

“It’s a huge event in their lives and you’re involved in it for a while. You’re part of their grief for that moment, and you just try and do their best for them.”

Shaun said there are also the good jobs, like delivering babies, which he did twice.

The first time was at the very end of a night shift – a call came in to transfer a maternity to Irvine Central.

He said: “I was quite grumpy getting called out at the end of the shift. When I got into the living room, the lady was lying on a chair and the baby’s head was crowning. That fairly wakes you up.”

Shaun said he was always scared about complications but, luckily, the two he delivered were straightforward.

He retired at the end of June, having spent the past five years based with the Urgent Tier team in Kilwinning.