NHS 70: Meet the mum and son saving lives together
- Credit: PA
One of the first women to join the London Ambulance Service has a very special crewmate - her son.
Linda Cray and her son Darran Billings will sometimes end up on the road together, saving lives across the capital.
Linda, 61, was one of the first women to join the service and has now taken on the role of training others to do the job - including her own son.
Linda, from Hainault, started her career in 1982 as a technician and has risen through the ranks to become a paramedic and now a trainer.
She said: “I went for an interview to drive ambulances - I got the job and never looked back.
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“There was no technology and we didn’t have any drugs. We only had oxygen and Entonox - we didn’t even carry aspirin. You really had to think on your feet.
“It was very much scoop and run, compared to nowadays when there’s a lot of care and treatment given at scene and carry equipment to do electrocardiograms and defibrillators to save people in cardiac arrest.”
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The single mother of two boys inspired her son Darran to follow in her footsteps.
He joined the service as an emergency ambulance crew member but had aspirations to become a paramedic.
The 30-year-old, from Becontree, said: “As I was growing up I was always around Mum and her colleagues and she really inspired me and I saw just how much she enjoyed it.
“It was all I ever wanted to be. I love doing what I do - each day is completely different and I love meeting new people.”
While she still does ambulance shifts, Linda’s main role now is as a trainer.
The pair are given the occasional shift on an ambulance together.
One of their most memorable shifts was their first together when they attended a patient suffering from cardiac arrest.
Darran added: “When I have been crewed with her, I’m always amazed at the knowledge she has.
“The only strange thing was when we’re crewed together, remembering to call her Linda, not Mum.”