International St John honours for two Guernsey residents

Two long standing supporters of St John have been honoured by the Order of St John in recognition of their service and commitment to the organisation in Guernsey.

Ken Brehaut becomes a Member of the Order of St John and Jurat David Hodgetts has been appointed to the grade of Officer of the Order of St John.

Mr Brehaut joined St John in the 1960s, starting volunteer, then after completing his training he joined the ambulance service as an ‘Ambulance Man’ in 1966, when Reg Blanchford was Chief Officer. During a sixteen year career, as well as working on the ambulances he was also a member of the Cliff Rescue Team and was involved with rescues at Telegraph Bay and the grounding of the Prosperity. He also served as the Town Division Superintendent of the voluntary section for a time.

After a period of time working for the family business, Ken returned to St John to run the HealthCare Shop. He was instrumental in expanding the delivery service and purchasing the first dedicated delivery van. He was also responsible to upgrading the fleet of wheelchairs. After retiring from the shop in 2010 Mr Brehaut joined the Fellowship and is currently the Treasurer.

“My parents were big supporters of St John. They were here during the Occupation and were always singing the praises of the ambulance service, so I always felt close to St John,” said Ken.

The investitures are approved by Her Majesty the Queen, as Sovereign Head of the Order of St John. The service took place at the Priory Church of St John in London in the presence of the Prior, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis. Mr Brehaut and Jurat Hodgetts were accompanied by Jerry Girard, representing the Knight Commander of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Mr Brehaut said “It is a big honour to receive this recognition. It was quite an occasion. I’d not been to St John’s Gate before but it was very impressive. I thought I might get a bit nervous but even though it was a formal service, it was still quite relaxed.”

Jurat David Hodgetts, a director and former chairman of St John Guernsey is appointed to the grade of Officer of the Order of St John. Jurat Hodgetts first became involved with St John in the 1960s as a St John Ambulance Brigade volunteer. As a teenager he also worked alongside Reg Blanchford on emergency ambulance calls and as a volunteer on the Flying Christine and Cliff Rescue team.

After a period away from Guernsey he returned to the island and became President of the Guernsey Ambulance Division, a position he held during the 1980s and 90s. Most recently he joined the board of the St John Guernsey charity and served as Chairman.

Jurat Hodgetts said, “I am truly honoured to have been appointed to the grade of Officer in the Order of St John. I consider myself privileged to have had such a long association with St John in Guernsey. The charity provides a number of excellent services and has always been well regarded by islanders.

“As a teenager I learnt so much from the likes of Reg Blanchford and experienced things that many people will never see. I’m delighted that I am now in a position to support the development of the organisation and our members. I am keen to encourage and inspire the growth of all parts of St John in Guernsey, so we can continue to help improve the lives of more people in our community.”

The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem – commonly known as the Order of St John – has its roots in a hospice in Jerusalem in the 11th century. Today the international charity provides health care and support in more than forty countries through a dedicated team of around 250,000 volunteers and staff.

An individual can be admitted to the order for outstanding service to St John in recognition of achievement, notable or selfless service or inspiration and encouragement to others. There are five Grades of membership Member, Officer, Commander, Knight or Dame and Bailiff or Dame Grand Cross.