A Duns paramedic is hanging up his stethoscope after over 37 years of service without ever taking a day’s sick leave.
Colin Baxter, of Berrywell Drive, first joined the Scottish Ambulance Service back in 1980 after being inspired by his father Jimmy and older brother Stewart.
At the time, he was working in game management in Duns but decided to become a part-time paramedic, undertaking a 10-week training programme at the former Gartloch Hospital near Glasgow.
The motorsport enthusiast carried out his last shift on Monday night, saying goodbye to his 23 colleagues then.
He said his last day in “was quite a busy last shift and one that was full of mixed emotions”.
Colin joined the team at Chirnside after the Duns station shut down due to centralisation of the service, and he has been paramedic team leader there since 1992.
The 60-year-old now plans to dedicate his retirement to his community and family.
He will now get to spend more time with his two sons – Mark, who lives in Tayport, Fife, and Michael, of Southampton in Hampshire – as well as his two granddaughters and two grandsons.
He said a highlight of his career was carrying out training and playing a key role in a pioneering blood analysis trial for which he and colleague George Miller received recognition in 2013 when they were given a chief executive’s special award.
That life-saving experiment involved carrying out blood analysis in ambulances instead of at hospital.
He said: “There haven’t been many challenges, but I suppose there is always the challenge of ongoing training.
“There is also an increasingly bigger demand on the service.”
Colin and George, ex-divisional training officer for the Borders, will now dedicate time to groups and communities by carrying out training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, basic first aid and how to use defibrillators.
The first of those events will take place at 6pm tomorrow night at Duns Golf Club, to which Scottish Heart At Risk Testing (HART) has donated a defibrillator in memory of Colin’s late wife Rae, who died from cancer nearly a year ago, 39 years after they got married.
She was a keen golfer and Duns ladies’ captain.
He said: “The training we will be carrying out will be mainly for communities and groups to learn how to use the machines and carry out basic CPR.
“I do hope to continue to help these communities.
“I am also looking forward to seeing more of my grandchildren and perhaps even taking them on holiday at some point.”
Kenneth Gunn, of Scottish HART, said: “Colin has been so good to us, and he is the man who has put the Borders back on the map for improving health.
“Thanks to him, we have a number of these defibrillator machines across the Borders as he has plotted every machine from every supplier.
“He is the man that’s made it all possible.”