MBE for teacher who has volunteered 10,000 hours with St John Ambulance

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 October 2020

Ashraf Uddin is a volunteer with St John Ambulance. Picture: Ashraf Uddin

Ashraf Uddin is a volunteer with St John Ambulance. Picture: Ashraf Uddin

Ashraf Uddin

A teacher who volunteered with St John Ambulance during the coronavirus pandemic has been made an MBE for his work

Ashraf Uddin has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his outstanding service to the community over two decades.

The 43-year-old volunteered 550 hours in March and April, responding to 999 calls and supporting NHS staff at Brentwood Hospital with the Rainham and South Hornchurch branch of St John Ambulance — all while still teaching children of key workers at The Warren School.

The design, technology and engineering teacher has given more than 10,000 hours of voluntary service to the organisation over a 20 year period.

Ashraf said: “When I received the announcement it was a nice surprise and a bit of a shock.

“St John Ambulance has been like a hobby for me really. I don’t see it as a job, I see it as fun. I’ve really enjoyed helping the community.

“It’s been a big team effort, there’s so many people involved in the background who give volunteer hours. They’re like a second family. We do it because we want to help.”

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During the peak of the pandemic, a typical day for Ashraf started with virtual teaching in the morning.

He said: “Once I’d finished that I would volunteer with Chelmsford Community Volunteer Helpline, going to the chemist and delivering prescriptions for people self-isolating.

“Then I would go and do a six hour shift at Brentwood Hospital’s Covid ward, donning full PPE to help look after and monitor patients’ vital signs with the NHS staff.”

At the weekends Ashraf joined colleagues at St John Ambulance for 12 hour shifts supporting emergency services across Essex.

His work has inspired former students at the Whalebone Lane North, Chadwell Heath school to volunteer, with one becoming a qualified paramedic.

He said: “Students ask me how I can work unpaid and I explain to them it’s about helping society and community.

“Once I explain that they understand. I hope it inspires the next generation.”

But the father-of-four still finds time to relax with his family, adding: “It sounds a lot, but it’s all balanced. We make sure we spend time together.”

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