Posted: Fri 9th Feb 2024

Caernarfon paramedic retires after 50 years of saving lives

North Wales news and information

An ambulance service stalwart is retiring after five decades of saving lives.

Gwyn Griffiths from Caernarfon joined the Caernarfonshire Fire and Ambulance Service as a ‘trainee ambulance man’ in February 1974 at the age of 23.

Now aged 73, he has enjoyed a varied career, both in Wales and across the border in England.

His roles have included ‘leading ambulance man’ and ambulance training officer, and he will finish his career on Sunday as an advanced paramedic practitioner.

Gwyn initially retired in 2015, but returned to the Welsh Ambulance Service three months later as a bank paramedic.

A keen mountaineer, he also volunteered with the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team for 20 years and was an associate lecturer in healthcare sciences at Bangor University.

Among his achievements over the last five decades, Gwyn was proud to be part of a team which helped train emergency medical care to people in Kuwait.

It followed the near-destruction of medical services in the country after the Iraqi invasion in 1990.

Gwyn said: “I spent nine years on and off in Kuwait as a training instructor and worked with some truly remarkable people out there.

”When we arrived, the country was in the very early stages of recovery after the invasion and the part of the country where we were based was literally like a warzone with heavy damage and destruction.

“Over the best part of a decade, I was able to watch the country rebuild and was privileged to be part of the team that helped restore emergency medical services to the people of Kuwait.”

Gwyn’s service overseas was recognised in June 2008 by the director general of the Kuwaiti Emergency Medical Services.

Dr. Mohammad Al-Sharhan praised him for his “unwavering support, dedication and outstanding contribution” to the people of Kuwait.

Gwyn, who has two children with his partner Linda and nine grandchildren, is now looking forward to his retirement and this time, said he has no plans to return to the service.

Instead, he is preparing for his next adventure as he intends to go mountaineering in Morocco and across the Himalayas.

Reflecting on his long and varied career, Gwyn said: “When I look back over the last five decades, I am proud to have been involved with so many great organisations and to have worked with so many truly wonderful people.

“Whether it was on shift as a paramedic, volunteering with the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team or helping to train others, I can honestly say that it’s not been a job, it’s been a way of life.”

Wayne Davies, the Trust’s locality manager for north Gwynedd and Anglesey, said: “I wish Gwyn a great and happy retirement, it’s truly well deserved.

“I really do think that the Welsh Ambulance Service and our patients have benefited greatly over the years from his experience and the hard work that he has put in.”

Jason Killens, chief executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “I would like to thank Gwyn for an impressive five decades of service to Welsh communities and beyond.

“He can rightly be proud of all that he has done, and I sincerely hope that he has a long, happy and well-deserved retirement.”

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