Villagers have helped Henfield win the National Community Heroes of the Year Award 2015 for saving lives.
Organisers say they were impressed by the way the residents got behind a scheme to get medical help to people quickly.
Life-savers and first-aid volunteers are celebrating their success in their category in the St John Ambulance national annual “Everyday Heroes” awards.
The charity said the win was because of what it described as “the villagers efforts to introduce an emergency response system to safeguard all its residents”.
Henfield, with a population of about 6,000, has raised more than £100,000 since 2004 to fund its local community responder group.
The community’s efforts paid for 23 public access defibrillators, which have already been used in 10 heart attack incidents.
They have also funded an active response system that has so far responded to 2,400 emergency 999 calls on behalf of the local ambulance service, reducing serious emergency call response times by an average of 10 minutes a call. They have also funded an emergency kit for each responder.
Chairman of Henfield Parish Council Ray Osgood said: “The residents of Henfield Parish and the beautiful surrounding smaller villages and hamlets are extremely proud to receive this award. We have raised more than £100,000 to support the Henfield Area Response Team, HART, and we are equally proud of HART and privileged to have them.
“Proud, because they are a great example of what local expertise and initiative can achieve by providing a service, now copied by many other communities, that brings a great sense of medical security to all local residents, and we are very privileged to come under such a dedicated medical service.
“Henfield and the other communities have worked had to help provide financial support for HART, but it is the HART volunteers who are the real heroes. People who otherwise would not be alive today are still with us because of them.”
Henfield was among nine winners in the Everyday Heroes awards, which were supported by the firm Physio-Control. The star-studded evening was hosted by Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, whose father – golfer Bernard Gallacher – was saved with first aid when he suffered a cardiac arrest last year.
Sue Killen, Chief Executive Officer at St John’s, and one of this year’s judges said:“These remarkable people are an inspiration and their stories really show the difference that first aid can make. I hope they are all incredibly proud of their achievements and I would urge everyone to follow their example. Download the St John Ambulance app, go to our website, find us on social media – it’s so easy to learn the knowledge and skills you need to save a life.”