One of the delights of my job as an MP is being able to visit very many spring, summer and autumn fetes and fairs. I was very delighted and honoured to be asked to declare the Willington Fair open recently, and I was given a very stylish ride across the playing field in a vintage ambulance – very exciting!

The difference between that ambulance and today’s versions are now quite stark. Some rather basic kit that kept people alive and returned them to field hospitals seems a world apart from the high tech ambulances we see today. I was pleased to talk to some of the Community First Response volunteers on the day and was given the opportunity to learn how to use an Automated external defibrillators (AED) – the sort you will find a many of our villages and communities based in village halls, former phone boxes and shops. They are extremely straightforward to use and lifesaving.

Community first responders are volunteers who are trained to attend certain types of emergency calls in the area where they live or work. Their aim is to reach a potential life threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.

I know that we have many First Responders in NE Beds already, being that first contact in an emergency in their community, but it is also important that even more of us know how to use AEDs, and know where one is available in our area. If you have a bit more time why not consider First Responder training? There are opportunities with the East of England Ambulance Service, St Johns and other organisations.

I really appreciated what I learnt at Willington, and enjoyed a super day in a community that had worked very hard to put together an excellent set of interests and entertainments. Well done to all, and to everyone who has put time and effort into their community fairs this season.