Volunteers are the backbone of the British Red Cross. They never cease to amaze us with their dedication. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, you come across someone like Michael Segon.
Michael is one of our first aid volunteers. He recently celebrated a whopping 60 years of volunteering with the Red Cross.
Over the years he has provided first aid at a wide range of events in the Norwich area.
But his bread and butter has been the matches at Norwich City Football Club. He’s been on duty at more than 1,700 games.
Being a massive Norwich City fan, Michael has loved being able to combine his love for first aid with football.
And despite recently suffering a heart attack, Michael is determined to continue volunteering.
A STAUNCH CAREER
Michael joined the Red Cross as a cadet back in 1957. He attended his first game at Carrow Road as a first aid volunteer two years later.
Over the years he’s seen it all, treating people for everything from broken bones to heart attacks. And in the process he’s witnessed some historic sporting moments, too.
“Some of my best memories include the 1959 fourth round of the FA Cup match against Cardiff,” Michael said.
“Terry Bly, the Norwich City centre-forward, was falling over backwards and kicked the ball over his shoulder into the net, scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 victory.”
But Michael is a true professional. He has never let his love of football get in the way of his duty.
“I’m really interested in the football, but first aid is the absolute priority.
“When I get a call on the radio to help someone, the football gets forgotten,” he said.
Normally it’s Michael giving star treatment to The Canaries’ football fans.
But to mark Michael’s awe-inspiring dedication, Aviva invited him into their hospitality box for Norwich City’s fateful game against Manchester United on 7 May. They sponsor the football club and also have a charity partnership with the Red Cross.
“I had a very enjoyable time,” Michael said.
“I felt very appreciated and Aviva were lovely hosts.”
Unfortunately Norwich lost 1-0, confirming their relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
But despite the disappointing result, Michael had a blast. One of his highlights was meeting legendary Norwich players Terry Allcock and Bill Punton.
“I reminded Terry of the time I’d carried him off the pitch with a broken leg back in 1960!” Michael recalled.
He also met Norwich left-back and man of the match Martin Olsson.
“I hadn’t realise there would be a reception and presentation after the game, so it was very nice to be a part of that after all my years out in the ground,” Michael said.
“It did make a nice change but ultimately I prefer being out with the crowd, in the atmosphere, and I’m looking forward to getting back on duty.”
PART OF LIFE
Michael is a retired bank manager but doesn’t intend on giving up his voluntary career any time soon. He reckons it keeps him active.
“I love volunteering and now I’m retired it’s even more important. There’s only so much gardening you can do!”
Being a first aid volunteer is also a family affair. It’s how Michael met his wife Barbara. In September they will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.
And their first aid volunteering experience has been passed down through the generations, too.
Their eldest son Andrew married a Red Cross first aid volunteer. And their 15-year-old son Matthew is also training to become one.
INSPIRED BY MICHAEL?
Right now we’re looking for first aid volunteers to join our teams across the UK.
It’s also Volunteers’ Week. See what it’s like to volunteer with these news and stories from around the UK.