Helping others takes pride of place during MPs' festive break for Brigg and Goole's Andrew Percy
WELL, Christmas 2012 is now over and there are now just over 350 shopping days until Christmas!
This time of year is one of my favourite times as it does give me a bit of time to catch my breath as MPs are at home for a couple of weeks.
This time of year means that the diary tends to be a bit quieter too, or at least for the few days after Christmas, enabling me to catch up with family and friends.
Running back and forth to London during the week and then filling weekends up with constituency events, means that I hadn't realised how long it had been since I met up with some friends and family.
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However, the run-up to Christmas itself is very busy due to carol concerts, church services and Christmas fairs.
As I don't exactly have an X Factor voice, I spent most of the days up to Christmas miming my way through various carol services across the area.
I have also spent a lot of this Christmas on duty as a Community First Responder for the Ambulance Service.
These volunteer schemes exist across our area but the scheme I set up covers the village I live in as well as Hook and Goole.
We underwent training from the ambulance service and we are provided with a kit which includes a defibrillator, oxygen and other equipment to help in an emergency.
Myself and other volunteers are despatched to certain emergencies such as heart attacks, cardiac arrests and suspected strokes.
The aim is that living locally, we can often get to a patient before an ambulance to start essential life support such as CPR, when seconds really do matter to a person's chances of survival.
Ambulances are obviously despatched at the same time and the scheme is to enhance, not replace, any of the ambulance service.
I have had a bit of a baptism of fire on this scheme, having been called to two people suffering cardiac arrests recently.
The first one I attended on my own, and arrived well before the ambulance meaning I had to perform CPR.
It was one thing doing the training for this, but you always worry that you won't be able to actually put what we have been taught into action.
Sadly, neither of these two calls ended as I would have liked but I am incredibly proud of myself and the other volunteer who attended the second cardiac arrest with me, for doing all we could.
In fact, I felt more proud of this than I did getting my degree.
These schemes, such as Lincolnshire Lives, are absolutely vital and they can and do save lives. For me, I am now passionate about these community schemes not least because of the relief on the faces of the families when we attended.
To know that there are people there quickly to help their loved ones was clearly such a relief.
Fortunately, my other call-outs this Christmas have been a bit more positive and as such I have met a lot of ambulance crews in the past few weeks.
They are incredibly professional and are often forgotten about when we talk about our fantastic NHS staff.
So the next time you see our ambulances crews about give them a smile or thank them for the vital work they do.