EMERGENCY services paid tribute to a Swindon paramedic of more than 40 years.

Ray Saunders died on October 24, aged just 68.

The grandfather-of-three spent four decades helping the town’s residents in their time of need, serving as a paramedic with Wiltshire Ambulance Service.

On Friday morning, dozens of firefighters and ambulance staff lined Queen’s Drive outside Swindon Ambulance Station, as a procession carried Ray’s coffin to Kingsdown Crematorium. Traffic was briefly held as the procession left the ambulance station.

The funeral cortege included two vintage ambulances, while two paramedic motorcyclists riding on blue lights ensured the procession arrived at Ray’s funeral safely.

Paying tribute to his father, Paul Saunders, 42, said: "There won’t be many people who don’t know of him in the ambulance service. There are so many stories of his time in the service and there seems to such a warmth of affection for him that it’s been really quite overwhelming.

“The ambulance service in Swindon was like a family when we were growing up. We’d have Christmas parties at the ambulance station and for my 18th birthday most the ambulance service from Swindon were there.

“If you’d cut him in half it would have said Wiltshire Ambulance Service right through the middle.”

Sam Legg-Bagg, station manager at Swindon Fire Station, said: “We work closely with all other blue light agencies, including the ambulance service and the police. We’re here to support our colleagues at this difficult time. We appreciate the commitment Ray showed to the service. We would all have worked with him on a number of occasions.”

More follows.