Final 999 call as Maurice and Ivan retire

Ivan Simpson (left)  and his wife Heather pictured with Maurice and Maud Simpson at a special event in the Balmoral Hotel recognising their service to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
Ivan Simpson (left) and his wife Heather pictured with Maurice and Maud Simpson at a special event in the Balmoral Hotel recognising their service to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Between them they clocked up an amazing 75 years serving the people of the North West in the Ambulance Service.

But now Maurice Simpson and Ivan Simspon have decided to retire.

The men, who share the same surname, but are not related, have been honoured at a special ceremony in Belfast’s Balmoral Hotel alongside 20 other retirees stepping down from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

They’ve worked in all aspects of ambulance care including A&E ambulance work, Western Health Transport and the organisation’s car service.

“I joined the service in the early 1980s,” said Maurice. “The Troubles were very heavy at the time and they needed to get people in and trained.”

Maurice said working for the Ambulance Service is not a job for the weak.

“I loved the job,” he said. “It’s a job that you have to be dedicated to.

“Even today I can’t forget the very first call that I was brought out to, it stays with you.

“It’s a job where you can’t panic, if you do that you are beat. You have to stop and think through exactly what you are going to do.”

Throughout the years, Maurice said he has “seen it all.”

“But you can’t allow yourself to being it home,” he said. “You keep it to yourself because there’s a confidentiality agreement between you and the patient.

“Every day and night that you go out you don’t know what you are going to meet.

“That’s part of the job.

“I have nothing but respect for paramedics today who are out doing a difficult job.”

There have been many memorable events over the years - but Maurice always remembers the day a baby was born in the back of the ambulance.

“There was a midwife in the ambulance too, we called ourselves the flying squad,” he laughed.

“I am sure I speak for Ivan when I say that the job gives you great satisfaction, when you you’ve helped to save someone and seen them recover.

“Working for the Ambulance Service is working for a team, you are never an individual. I would recommend the career to any young people looking at jobs now. It’s a great job.”