The daughter of a SECAMB employee who spent 41 years serving the public before retiring, has paid tribute to her Dad’s service, after claiming that SECAMB failed to acknowledge his ‘dedication or time he gave to the ambulance service’.
Russell Kempton retired from SECAMB in July this year after a period of serious illness.
In a heartfelt post published on Facebook, Becky Kempton said:
“I’ve kept it zipped since my Dad retired after 41 years from Surrey Ambulance/Secamb on the 1st July 2020.
“This following him being critically unwell and almost losing his life not long before, the priority was that.
“However, five months down the line now, I’m speaking up.
“Not once has anyone contacted my Dad, from management or the service to thank him or publicly acknowledge his dedication and time he gave to Surrey and Secamb or to wish him well in his retirement.
“So here I am, I’ll acknowledge you!
“Dad started his career in 1979 on PTS.
“Within three months he became a technician on the frontline, he did four years in that role, before being promoted to control superintendent.
“He was then duty station officer (DSO) at every ambulance station in Surrey at some point. Dad was the group manager at Chertsey complex for a period of time. He then ran the control room at Surrey headquarters for five years (the TV appearance ).
“When Surrey merged and became Secamb, Dad went into emergency planning and preparedness.
“He played a huge part in the rollout of the airwave radio system, training operational staff, HEMS, managers etc… His final role in recent years was an operational support manager for West Sussex and Surrey.
“Primarily making sure operational crews had good facilities for stand by and rest break locations.
“Dad was also involved in many major incidents:
- Brighton bombing
- Clapham rail disaster
- Purely train crash
- Marchioness disaster… to name a few!
“So, I’m sure that I haven’t covered it properly. But that’s just a snippet of what I know.
“Not only did Secamb hugely fail him when he was in hospital, but following his retirement, he hasn’t had so much of a mention, something I’ve seen them do to other staff that have retired/left.
“My Dad’s number one priority was ALWAYS his staff and patients.
“I’m appalled that his hard work and dedication hasn’t been recognised.
“But following the experience of them back in April, am I surprised… As I said back then, don’t thank your staff publicly when this is a true reflection of how they are treated.
“Massive congratulations on an amazing career Dad, I’m glad I’ve followed in your footsteps (well kind of! Not management and thankfully a different service! )
“And don’t think you’ve got away with a retirement do, it will be happening when it’s allowed!”
Social media users were quick to share their support and appreciation of the 40+ years that Russell spent in the ambulance service.
Nigel Wylie said:
“Well said, Becky Kempton
“Like many others, l had the privilege and pleasure to work alongside of your Dad when we were both promoted to Control in 1984.
“I’m sure if it had still been the Surrey Service we all knew and loved his retirement would have been a very different matter.
“When all this nonsense is over l think there may be the odd celebration or two…
“After all these years it’s fabulous to catch up with your Dad and other Surrey stalwarts on our Tuesday evening Zoom calls.
“Thank you to you for keeping us posted during those dark days earlier this year, and for teaching him FB!”.
Meanwhile, Corina Downing said:
“I loved seeing Russell always had a story of days gone by to lift the mood and make everyone smile.
“Congratulations an amazing achievement and a huge amount of dedication. Enjoy retirement Russell you thoroughly deserve it xx”.
A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) told Emergency Services News:
“We are very sorry Russell’s family have raised these concerns.
“Russell was due to be recognised for his many years service with along with his colleagues at our annual award ceremonies earlier this year but sadly two of our three ceremonies had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are currently exploring options to ensure everyone who was due to be recognised for long service and outstanding work are recognised and Russell will of course be invited to be part of this.”
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