A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) 999 call handler has won a national honour for saving a police inspector when he became seriously ill on a Cornish coast path.

Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Olivia Molyneux won the Patient’s Choice accolade at the 2019 Unsung Hero Awards, after she helped off-duty official Dave George.

Olivia, who has worked at the SWASFT North Control Hub near Bristol since August 2017, said: “I was filled with happiness when I heard I had won the Patient’s Choice Award. Inspector George went above and beyond to show his gratitude to me, and I cannot thank him enough.

“I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony, which I was so disappointed about. But my amazing colleagues accepted it on my behalf.

“This award deserves to be given to every member of the Control Room as we are all unsung heroes.”

Inspector George collapsed in hot weather last summer during a walk on the South West Coast Path between Penzance and Land’s End in Cornwall.

He experienced “crushing” chest pains and was struggling to breathe, but managed to call 999 to get help.

Olivia assessed his condition over the phone, and calmly reassured him until crews arrived at the remote location.

Inspector George was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was diagnosed with serious heat stroke. He made a full recovery.

Inspector George wrote a letter of thanks to SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman, and visited the Control Hub to meet Olivia.

“I thought that was it,” he said. “I was on my own, and needed help. It was a desperate situation.

“Olivia was totally exceptional. She dealt with a very difficult and challenging call in the most superb way. The kindness and calm professionalism that she showed deserves special praise. I don’t think I could have got through that hour alone without her staying on the line and talking to me.”

Paul Greatorex, Deputy Director of Operations at the North Control Hub, collected the award on behalf of Olivia who was away.

He described the award was “a true testimony to Olivia’s professionalism”.

The Unsung Hero Awards honour non-clinical NHS staff and volunteers, and this year’s awards received hundreds of nominations.

The winners were announced at a recent ceremony in Manchester.