THE husband of an “inspirational and compassionate” paramedic who helped thousands of people before becoming seriously ill has paid a moving tribute to his wife.

Sally Waudby, 50, of Forest Grove, York, was well known for her work as a paramedic in which she saved many lives and supported countless numbers of people involved in emergency situations.

The mum-of-two was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in February last year, an illness which saw her physical condition rapidly deteriorate until she was unable to speak or move unaided by the end of the year.

She passed away peacefully at home and her funeral was held yesterday at York Crematorium.

Mick Waudby, Sally’s husband and partner of 26 years, said: “She never said, ‘why me?’ She made a decision – she could get on with living or get on with dying and she chose living. She never once complained, she was very resilient.

“Sally was a very compassionate person.

“When you do a job as a professional it becomes routine. Sally treated everybody with compassion, she never got hardened to working as a paramedic.”

To support Mrs Waudby, her friends and former colleagues at Yorkshire Ambulance Service launched the Speak For Sally website which raised £11,700 for a computer which read eye movements to help her communicate and even text or make phone calls. This will now be passed on to other MND patients in York.

Mr Waudby said: “Sally’s legacy isn’t just her personality and the compassion she has shown to other people, but it’s also the fact that a lot of her friends and colleagues raised the funds for this machine which will improve the lives of other people with MND.”

Mrs Waudby worked for the ambulance service for 26 years, 18 as a paramedic. She moved to work in the ambulance’s payroll department in 2009 when she began to show symptoms of what would later be diagnosed as motor neurone disease.

She finally finished work in September last year.

She was cared for throughout her illness by her husband and children Adam, 20, and Beth, 15, with professional support.

Mrs Waudby’s close friend and colleague Julie Staveley said the bravery with which she coped with her situation was remarkable.

She said: “I knew she was in there and she was trapped in this body that was no longer hers. She was determined it was not going to rule her life –she was going to be in charge.

“Sally was Sally – she was her own person. Although she knew and liked lots of people I was very privileged she called me a friend. I feel blessed she has been in my life.”

Mrs Waudby was known to have helped many people as a paramedic – delivering babies, helping trauma victims, working with the friends and family of patients and caring for elderly people.

One patient she rescued from a car accident wrote on the fundraising website: “I am just one of the thousands of people you have helped over the years.

When I was pulled out of a car crash in March 1993 you administered life-saving first aid, enabling me to have a happy family life with my husband and 13-year-old daughter. You deserve the best.”

Mr Waudby has thanked the professional healthcare workers in York who made it possible for his wife to be cared for at home by her family, particularly York Against Motor Neurone Disease and its specialist nurse, Doreen Foster. He also thanked Marie Curie, and MacMillan.

Hundreds say final farewells

HUNDREDS of people attended Sally Waudby’s funeral yesterday at York Crematorium.

The moving humanist service which she had planned herself was punctuated by songs including Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever, Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera and Nat King Cole’s Smile.

Leading the tributes, her cousin, Gillian Moran, described her as a “sunny presence”, devoted to her parents, her children Adam and Beth and “the love of her life”, Mick while son Adam said: “She was a kind and caring individual. I would like to thank her for the constant patience and effort involved in 20 years of bringing me up. Thank you, I will think of you always. And I will get my room tidy at some point.”

Former colleague Ray Gray spoke of her humour and mischievous determination to make changes during the ambulance service union disputes 20 years ago, while Mr Waudby’s tribute described her as “my friend, drinking partner and travelling companion”, who was “always upbeat and positive”.

He played Louis Armstrong’s We Have All The Time In The World in tribute to her before playing her final choice of music – the Looney Tunes cartoon ending That’s All Folks!