Selfless paramedic gets the royal seal of approval

Publication Date12 January 2022
Publication titleAirdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Chapelhall resident Araf Saddiq was presented with the prestigious Queen's ambulance medal by Prince Charles at a memorable investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle

He became Scotland's first Asian paramedic when he joined the service 25 years ago, and has dedicated years to volunteering with ethnic minority communities on a range of health issues including vaccination, supporting refugees, first aid training and placing defibrillators in places of worship.

Araf first joined the ambulance service by working in patient transport and as a care assistant, then as a technician before becoming a paramedic in 2000.

He was based at Coatbridge for 15 years before transferring to his current post at Douglas in South Lanarkshire; and combines his busy frontline duties with his wide range of community health promotion work, educating and sharing skills with fellow professionals and serving as vice-chair of NHS Scotland's diversity forum.

Originally awarded the medal in the 2021 new year honours list, his royal presentation took place late last year after being delayed by Covid restrictions; and it proved to be well worth the wait.

He told the Advertiser: "It was amazing. Prince Charles knew a lot about me and what I did and gave me a lot of time; it was great meeting him.

"The first thing he said was that he was so pleased to meet me and had heard so much about me, and reeled off the kinds of things I'd been doing.

"My wife Aysha was with me and we also had a tour of the castle - the whole day was a fantastic experience."

Araf said of his Queen's ambulance medal: "It was a huge surprise to receive this in the 2021 new year list, and I think it's the first time a paramedic has received this award - it's usually senior officers so to receive it as a frontline paramedic is a real honour.

"When I started out I was the first Asian paramedic in Scotland, and I do a lot of work, especially with faith and ethnic communities on health awareness, first aid training and giving public access to...

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