Hundreds attend funeral of Redruth paramedic Derek Wilton
Hundreds of colleagues and friends turned out to pay their final respects to Redruth paramedic ‘Del’ Wilton.
His funeral on Monday (SEP 23) at St Andrews Church was attended by 450 people, including colleagues from the ambulance service where he had worked for more than 13 years.
His widow, Noelle, said the response had “blown her away” and had given her “enormous comfort.”
Mr Wilton, 46, from Illogan, disappeared on August 15 after suffering months of post-traumatic stress from his work as a paramedic.
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His body was discovered by Coastguards several weeks later at Hells Mouth near Camborne.
His colleague and long-time friend, John Veall described the funeral as a: “difficult and emotional day that was full of laughter and tears.”
He thanked the hundreds of mourners that attended, including representatives from the Coastguard, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Cornwall Freewheelers and other emergency services.
He said Del’s area manager, Steve Small, and other close colleagues spoke movingly of Del during the service taken by Father Peter Fellows.
Mr Veall, also a paramedic, said that during the wake, at the Lowenac Hotel, in Camborne, many reflected on the tragedy and the personal troubles affecting Del.
He said: “Many agreed that Del gave 100 per cent to his job in the ambulance service. He was always professional but sometimes you have to give a bit of yourself and it was felt Del gave too much.”
Speaking after the funeral his widow called on managers of the emergency services to be aware of the emotional pressures faces their crews.
She said: “Father Peter Fellows compared Del to a swan who appeared graceful but underneath was frantically paddling.
“Patients have to be at the forefront but it is also a manager’s duty to care for those like Del. Staff are under a lot of pressure these days with response times.
“They are often working alone dealing with major trauma. Many are afraid to speak out, and don’t want to admit that they are struggling and like Del may bottle it up.”
She hoped that Del’s colleagues took something from his tragic death and asked for support if they needed it.
“There is a macho culture within the service and men seem to find it hard to open up. But it is important that they get the support they need and deserve.”
Mrs Wilton is now planning a series of fundraising events to buy equipment for the two coastguards at Portreath and St Agnes.
These will include sponsored events around mountain biking and motorcycling, two of her husband’s favourite sports.