A NEW rapid response vehicle is now being deployed to deal with life-threatening medical emergencies along the Wrexham-Shropshire border.

The Skoda Fabia estate car is the first of its kind to be used by Community First Responders (CFRs) volunteering with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust

The car has been bought with a £10,000 grant from the Wales Lottery and sponsorship from the Cheshire-based Mitchells Skoda dealership group.

It follows an online crowd-funding appeal by volunteer Effie Cadwallader on behalf of the Wrexham Rural Community First Responders group, which raised more than £2,000.

The keys to the vehicle were handed over at a socially-distanced ceremony at Mitchell’s Cheshire Oaks headquarters and Mark Mitchell, managing director of the Mitchell Group, which represents Skoda, Lexus and Mazda, said they were delighted to help.

He said: "As a team we are thrilled to be standing alongside Wrexham Rural Community First Responders.

"This is both significant and key to the work that this group of 30 volunteers does every day across our communities.''

Skoda brand manager Richard Macklin added: "We are immensely grateful for the CFRs` unstinting commitment and people focus, and we trust that this Skoda Fabia will serve them well for many miles and many years to come."

Effie, a long-serving Community First Responder from St Martins, near Oswestry, raised more than £2,000 with a crowd funding appeal which attracted more than 100 donations.

The appeal has paid for car’s instantly-recognisable bright livery, plus necessary accessories and running costs.

Several business and organisations also supported the campaign, including Stan’s Superstore, Perrys of Gobowen, Ifton Garage, The Keys at St Martins, Selattyn Community Group and Ellesmere Probus Club.

Wrexham Rural Community First Responders will use the car solely for attending 999 emergencies assigned by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust around the border area communities of Chirk, the Ceiriog Valley, Llangollen, Acrefair, Ruabon, Overton, Penley, Bettisfield and the outskirts of Ellesmere.

When it is ‘off duty’ the car will be used by volunteers for visiting groups and community centres to undertake basic life support and public access defibrillator awareness courses.

Wrexham Rural Community First Responder Team Co-ordinator Terry Brownhill said: "The acquisition of this response car is a major step towards increasing the visibility of our volunteer Community First Responders who operate across the whole of Wrexham county borough in support of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

“We are hoping to gain the support of our local communities when the car is seen out and about performing its dedicated role."

More information about the work of Wrexham Rural Community First Responders, and how to support the group, can be found at www.wrexhamruralcfr.co.uk