EXITING chairman of Knutsford’s first responders group has thanked the group for a ‘phenomenal’ year of lifesaving.

Adrian Rees, who will serve his last few months as chairman of the Knutsford Community First Responders Trust before leaving in May, addressed the volunteers who put in on average 60 hours a week to congratulate them on ‘exceeding’ expectations.

The message has come after a particularly successful year, which saw the group expand by 10 members, increase call outs by nearly 100 since 2015 as well as win two prestigious lifesavers awards.

At a celebratory end-of-year meal on Friday, Adrian said to the group: “None of these outstanding achievements could have been accomplished without the dedication and hard work of our Trust volunteers. To all of you, those here tonight and those who are absent, thank you.

“The population of Knutsford and its surrounding communities are living in a safer place by all your efforts throughout 2016.

“It has also been a time to forge new friendships with many new First Responder and Heartstart Members joining us during 2016.”

A total of 268 Knutsford residents completed their BHF affiliated Heartstart Training at the monthly courses in 2016.

The group also launched its satellite operation in Wythenshawe in April and by the end of the year had held seven public courses, training 145 Wythenshawe residents in total.

Following the first community defibrillator installation in Plumley in 2015, the trust also saw the installation of an additional three, in Over Peover, Lower Peover and Great Warford.

The group also held its first C-R-Y Screening day in October with a total of 104 “young adults” being checked out during the full day and has already started plans for two more events in 2017.

Adrian added: “Knutsford Community First Responder Trust had a phenomenal year in 2016; across all three of its core community services of First Responding, Heartstart Training and provision of AED’s, exceeding our plans and hopes and also adding a further arm to ‘life-Saving support’ to our community.”

He also took the time to thank individual volunteers for their contributions throughout 2016 including Stuart Willis who provided cover for more than half the responses, and Sylvia Thomas who won the Heart Safe award and has been with the trust for 12 years.

Sal Thompson and Jordan Tyms were also thanked alongside Lisa Johnson and Emily Dubois.