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Paramedic recognised at Buckingham Palace for volunteer work

A Scottish Ambulance Service paramedic has been recognised at Buckingham Palace for his volunteer work over the past nine years.

Richard Francis, who is based at Callander Ambulance Station, attended His Majesty's Garden Party yesterday (May 21).

Richard was invited to attend along with wife Marina MacKay where he was recognised for being the founder of the Leave A Light On (LALO) support group.

The group was founded on the 23rd March 2020 to provide aid, virtual help and a 24-hour support during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Since then, it has grown and over the past few years has housed more than 100 NHS staff, keyworkers and those in emergency situations into free of charge accommodation.

Richard said: “What a lovely occasion and celebration. We had the pleasure of being joined by over 2000 very well deserving honourable members of services, forces, politicians, celebrities and many mayors and religious representatives.
“It's an occasion we shall never forget and we feel truly honoured to have been nominated and invited to the event.”

The LALO project has provided an abundance of emergency food hampers via referrals from the social services, child protection and domestic violence charities who almost immediately put their trust in Richard’s project.

Richard, who used to be a chef by trade, said: “The group is very passionate about not only supporting and inspiring our next generation of volunteers but also feels it is equally important to celebrate the work of those going the extra mile in the community or family support within difficult times.”

Richard has always been involved in community work. During Storm Desmond, which devastated Cumbria and parts of Lancashire, Richard began the support group ‘The Big Cumbrian Christmas Day Get Together’ which was initially setup in the hope of providing venues for those that had lost their homes to have somewhere to spend Christmas Day and still have the magical day despite all the devastation around.

LALO recently celebrated its four-year anniversary and has over 5,700 regular followers. The group is now a regular source of help for social service teams, vulnerable adult and child protection teams, food banks throughout the county, discharge teams across the counties’ hospitals, wellbeing officers and key workers for those with specialist needs.

Contact Information

Scottish Ambulance Press Office

Notes to editors

Richard pictured with wife Marina