Rita's funeral

 Thursday 21 June 2018

Wonderful story here from the PTS crew at Law and the relationship they had with Rita.

Two Patient Transport Service crew members were invited to be pallbearers at the funeral of a woman they transferred on a weekly basis to hospital for 13 years.

Brian Muldoon and Jim Vincent, based at Law Ambulance Station, have been described as part of Rita Cross’ “family” by her two daughters, Melanie and Pauline.

Former nurse Rita, 80, passed away earlier this year. She had been travelling back and forth from her property in Carluke, Lanarkshire, to hospital.

Rita had been a dialysis patient for the past 16 years. Initially, she had some mobility but once this decreased, she started using PTS for transport between hospital and her home. This is where she struck up the relationship with Brian, and Jim, also known as “Vinny” . Rita called them her ‘toy boy’ and ‘Koi boy’ respectively, and the trio shared banter and many laughs over the past several years.

Melanie said: “They were part of the family. My mum looked at them as part of the family. They did not just go in and just do their job. They did the job plus. They were very good with mum, and very caring.

“They use to stop at the chip shop when they were coming back from the hospital. They both went above and beyond their duties. From day one, they put her at ease straight away. They all had good banter between each other. Right from day one, it was like they had know her all their life.”

When Rita passed away, the pair were notified of her funeral details and were had already made plans to attend.

Melanie said: “She loved them, they were her boys.”

She said Brian and Jim picked her mum up on different days and added that Rita “missed it when it wasn’t them.”

Rita’s other daughter, Pauline, said the relationship they had with her mum was special, saying Rita used to buy them gifts while away on trips, along with other medical staff she received help from over the years.

She added “she never forgot about them” and said they were invited to be pallbearers as they “lifted her for the last 13 years.
She continued: “Mum would have totally appreciated and grateful they did that. They are absolutely brilliant guys. I wanted them to be part of the funeral as well.”

Brian said: “I was picking her up before Jim started. I have been picking her up for about 13 years, Jim for about 10 years.

“We got to chat with her and she asked us to do the odd wee thing, such as record the odd thing on TV, like Neighbours or Emmerdale, or get a bottle of water. It was just normal, we didn’t give it a second thought.

“On the way back from hospital, we would stop and get some food. She used to call me her ‘toy boy’ and Jim was her Koi Boy, as he had fish. She was a lovely person.”

Once the pair found out she had passed away, they wanted to attend the funeral, with Brian adding: “Then we got asked to be pallbearers, as we had been carrying her for years. I was absolutely shocked, but also delighted.

“We met the rest of the family, and they said ‘you must be Vinny and Brian’. They knew exactly who we were. Most crews like her, but we struck a real chord with her. I think it is part and parcel of the job. If you can have a bit of banter, it takes their mind off where they are going.”