Thames Valley Air Ambulance paramedic Gerry Lea has been named Air Ambulance Paramedic of the Year at the national Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence 2015 for his role in a challenging patient rescue earlier this year.

Citing ‘exemplary patient care’, the award was given to Gerry, who is based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, for his vital intervention when he jumped into the River Thames at Wallingford in May to rescue a man that had become critically unwell in the water.

With a steep river bank, and no way to get the patient out without extra assistance, Gerry held the patient up and monitored his condition in the water for 25 minutes, which greatly contributed to his life being saved.

South Central Ambulance Service Paramedic Gerry Lea said of his award win: “I am incredibly proud and humbled to receive an award for a job that I absolutely love. I am just a small part of an amazing team, not just Thames Valley Air Ambulance, but everyone from the first responders right through to the receiving hospitals. It is without doubt that I couldn’t do the job I do without such fantastic support and a dedicated team who put patient welfare at the forefront of what we do.”

Paramedic Lisa Brown was with Gerry at the scene and said: “I am so impressed with Gerry’s actions. What he did was over and above his call of duty and he will stop at nothing to ensure he is delivering the best possible care to his patients, even in the most challenging of circumstances. He is truly a remarkable and highly skilled paramedic. We are so grateful to have his dedication and devotion to the job he loves as part of the team and it’s something we all admire and learn from. He thoroughly deserves this award.”

John Black, Medical Director South Central Ambulance Service, said: “I have worked with Gerry for over 10 years both on air ambulance operations and within the South Central Ambulance Service. Gerry is a consummate air ambulance HEMS crew member, a first class clinical mentor and great colleague for whom I have the highest professional regard. This is not the first time that Gerry has placed himself potentially in harm’s way in order to provide emergency care to his patients at times of great need.”

The Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence took place on Monday 16 November at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London. BBC News presenter Sophie Long and Helicopter Heroes presenter Rav Wilding handed out 11 Awards to outstanding individuals and teams, whose stories were inspirational, astonishing and humbling. The awards, which are independently judged, went to pilots, paramedics, doctors, fundraisers and volunteers from air ambulance services across the UK.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Chloe Smith MP, said: “This was a wonderful evening recognising and celebrating the amazing work done by the nation’s air ambulance services. My fellow judges and I were humbled by the outstanding quality of the nominations we received, and I would like to congratulate every single one of the nominees. The winners of the Awards can be assured that they truly are exceptional examples of what can be achieved through teamwork, expertise, courage and conviction.”